21 Apr 2016


WWF-Australia today welcomed recognition from State and Federal Governments that the Great Barrier Reef is gravely threatened by the current coral bleaching crisis, but called for real action not just talk.

Federal and State Environment Ministers agreed yesterday to weekly calls regarding the coral bleaching crisis.

“Phone hook ups alone are not going to fix the problems - we need decisive action, not just more talk,” said WWF-Australia spokesperson Louise Matthiesson.

“There is strong scientific consensus on the key actions needed to help the Reef recover from the current coral bleaching event; increase its resilience so it can cope better with high temperatures; and tackle global warming to prevent bleaching events becoming more frequent."

“It’s time for politicians to put aside the blame game and take decisive action to address the problem,” she said.

WWF released a list of three actions each government can take to help the Reef recover and thrive:

3 actions the Federal Government can take

  1. Regulate a cap on farm pollution flowing into Reef waters, with staged cap reductions to achieve the clean water targets in the Reef 2050 Plan
  2. Establish a multi-billion dollar fund to fast-track better farm management and catchment repair to achieve the clean water targets in the Reef 2050 Plan
  3. Commit to 100% renewable electricity by 2035 and end fossil fuel subsidies to rapidly reduce global warming

3 actions the State Government can take

  1. Regulate to ensure new development does not increase pollution flowing into the Reef and existing farms rapidly cut pollution loads.
  2. Commit to implementing all of the recommendations in the Reef Water Science Taskforce report when it is released in May.
  3. Push ahead with reforms to the Vegetation Management Act which will cut Queensland’s greenhouse emissions and reduce the soil erosion that pollutes Reef waters

1 joint action for both Governments

Queensland and the Commonwealth should cooperate to establish a strong independent champion for the Reef that has the resources and the powers to deliver the urgent action the Reef needs.

An expanded and strengthened Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority should be put in charge of accelerating the actions set out in the Reef 2050 Plan, and improving the plan so that it can meet its ambitious targets in the face of the continuing impacts of climate change.

WWF-Australia Media Contact:

Mark Symons, Senior Media Officer, 0411 985 571.