Labor and Greens can’t blame farmers for AIMS figures


  • AIMS figures show coral cover increasing next to catchments with extensive agricultural development
  • Findings contradict green activists’ attacks on agriculture sector
  • Palaszczuk Labor Government’s so-called ‘reef regulations’ punish farmers

New figures released by the Australian Institute of Marine Science (AIMS) fly in the face of green groups blaming farmers for damage to the Great Barrier Reef (GBR), Shadow Natural Resources Minister Andrew Cripps said today.

Mr Cripps said he welcomed an updated analysis by AIMS of regional and Great Barrier Reef-wide trends showing coral cover in the reef’s central and southern sections had increased between 2012 and 2015.

“In three years the former LNP Government did more to protect the reef than Labor did in 20 years, spending on average $35 million a year on reef protection measures,” he said.

“While Labor and ideologically-driven green activist groups continue to talk down the reef, these findings prove the reef is in better condition than it was under the previous Bligh Labor Government.

“This report should be a reality check for the Palaszczuk Labor Government and the green groups it panders to by imposing punitive, heavy-handed regulations on North Queensland landholders”.

Mr Cripps said coral cover between Gladstone and Bowen nearly doubled in the three years between 2012 and 2015, while cover from Bowen to Cooktown had increased by more than 20 per cent over the same period.

He said the only place where coral cover decreased was in areas north of Cooktown, where the area of adjacent land developed for agricultural use was relatively low.

“The report itself attributed the decline in coral cover to cyclone activity and the crown-of-thorns starfish, so Labor and their fellow travellers the Greens won’t be able to blame farmers, as they usually do, for this result in the Far North.”

Key facts:

    • Coral cover in the southern GBR (Gladstone to Bowen) nearly doubled in the three years between 2012 and 2015, from 14.4 per cent to 27.5 per cent.
    • Coral cover in the central GBR (Bowen to Cooktown), increased by 22.9 per cent increase over 3 years,
    • In the northern GBR (Cooktown to Torres Strait) there was a decrease in coral cover of 19.7 per cent over 3 years

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