Pauline Hanson has led a voyage of climate change denial aimed at muddying the waters on the coral bleaching crisis that occurred early this year, according to the Australian Marine Conservation Society.
Imogen Zethoven AMCS Great Barrier Reef Campaign Director said 22 percent of the corals in the Great Barrier Reef had died of heat stress last summer. Most of the deaths occurred in the northern region, north of Port Douglas.
“It is disingenuous to host a party meeting to deny the impact of global warming in an area that suffered only minor coral bleaching. If Senator Hanson and her colleagues want to see the devastating impact of climate change on the Reef, they need to go north.
“The challenges facing our Great Barrier Reef, and the tourism industry that relies on it, are urgent and real. One Nation burying its head in the sand about the threats from coral bleaching, climate change and water pollution is unhelpful,” she said.
The risk of global warming severely damaging the Reef is very high and, according to a government report (GBR Outlook 2014), the impacts are likely to be catastrophic unless urgent action is taken.
Water temperatures are still above normal, many of the corals in the north are diseased and struggling to recover and the coral spawning event in the north was a pale shadow of what it should have been.
“For the sake of the Reef and the 69,000 tourism jobs that depend on it, One Nation needs to sail out of a storm of denial and into the sunshine of reality,” Ms Zethoven said.
The Hanson media advisory is states:
“We have feedback from international bodies and local tourist operators that there has been a sharp downturn in tourism because various groups have lied and declared the GBR ‘dead’.”
However, official tourist figures from the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park released in March 2016 show overall tourist numbers are at record numbers for the marine icon.
“I am concerned One Nation is peddling misleading information and downplaying a serious problem that will not go away by denying it.
“The tourism industry is a vital employer in regional Queensland and the Reef is its most important natural asset. We have to look after the health of that asset if the industry is to survive into the future. There are no long term jobs in climate denial.
“We must protect our Reef and ensure the tourism industry continues to grow but to do so we must rapidly switch from coal to 100% renewable electricity.