Greens call for full transparency of Great Barrier Reef covert mission

Australian Greens

The Greens call for full transparency from Special Envoy for the Great Barrier Reef Senator Nita Green and GBRMPA CEO Josh Thomas on their recent covert visit to UNESCO in Paris.

It comes as the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority quietly released data late yesterday showing a shocking 75% of the Great Barrier Reef has again bleached – the fifth mass coral bleaching now recorded in the past eight years.

Transparency from the government about its mission to Paris is particularly important given the World Heritage Committee will meet in India from 21-31 July 2024 and decide whether the Great Barrier Reef meets the criteria for inscription on the List of World Heritage in Danger.

As stated by Greens spokesperson for healthy oceans, Senator Peter Whish-Wilson:

“New data revealing three-quarters of the Great Barrier Reef has been bleached is shocking, and I have no doubt many Australians will feel a deep sense of despair hearing this news.

“It’s beyond any doubt the ‘outstanding universal values’ that saw the Great Barrier Reef inscribed as one of the greatest UNESCO World Heritage treasurers are in danger from warming oceans and consistent marine heatwaves, primarily caused by the burning of fossil fuels.

“Successive governments have gone to extraordinary lengths to stop an ‘in danger’ listing of the Great Barrier Reef by deliberately deceiving the world of the severity of climate change impacts on the reef, while at the same time approving massive new fossil fuel projects.

“It’s time for no more spin, deceit and distractions. The Greens are calling for full transparency of any recent lobbying of UNESCO by the Albanese government in relation to the Great Barrier Reef. We need trust in the Albanese government’s motivations and actions to save this greatest of natural icons.

“If the Great Barrier Reef’s key management body, GBRMPA, and its parliamentary envoy can’t truly advocate for securing the reef’s future, then who can?

“In 2023 the World Heritage Centre and IUCN declared the Great Barrier Reef ‘remains under serious threat’ and identified priority recommendations – many of which including mitigating the impacts of climate change – to avoid the natural icon being inscribed on the List of World Heritage in Danger.

“Mitigating the impacts of climate change is one thing, but the Great Barrier Reef can’t be protected from the political stupidity of prioritising new coal and gas over coral.

“Until the Albanese government stops opening new coal and gas, any claims we are on track to protect the Great Barrier Reef from an ‘in danger’ listing are duplicitous and need to be called out.

“If the Albanese government is serious about protecting the Great Barrier Reef it must treat the root cause of the reef’s decline, which is rising emissions from burning fossil fuels.”

/Public Release. View in full here.