Great Barrier Reef



The Great Barrier Reef fringes the vulnerable coast of Queensland, Australia. The GBR attracts over two million tourist visits per year, generating around A$6 Billion in revenue. However the fragile ecosystem is highly vulnerable to temperature change and faces destruction from numerous other causes. This webquest contrasts the efforts of environmentalists to preserve the GBR  against the callous exploitation of this valuable resource by industrial interests. 

The United Nations World Heritage and the International Union for the Conservation of Nature has expressed concern the Australian government is only addressing seven of twenty-three identified management issues and has warned the Reef may be placed on the  2014 “in danger” list. Dr Fanny Douvere advises that industrial projects should only be permitted if they do not impact on the reef’s value or compromise the strategic assessment process. (Arup, 2013)

There is a conflict between the Queensland government, which is attempting to fast-track lucrative industrialisation and the Federal Government. Canberra has so-far declined to approve the expansion of Port Abbott to accommodate the extra demand for coal-ships. The Deputy Premier of Queensland, Jeff Seeney accuses the Federal Minister of the Environment Mark Butler of “being held to ransom by radical greens.”  (Arup, 2013)  However there is little scientific research available into the effects of the mining and port industries on the Great Barrier Reef to adequately assess their impact upon the environment.

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