Teaching Law

Sunday, 2 February 2014

Why the Great Barrier Reef should have legal standing

The Reef is under threat and needs our protection
Friday saw the announcement that the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority ('GBRMPA') had approved dumping of dredging spoil within the boundaries of the marine park. This followed the Commonwealth's go-ahead for the construction of the world's biggest coal terminal at Abbot Point, off Bowen, to facilitate mining in Queensland's coal-rich Bowen Basin.

The decisions were made in the context of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Act which, under s2A (1) apparently aims to:
provide for the long term protection and conservation of the environment, biodiversity, and heritage values of the Great Barrier Reef Region.
Despite the Minister's assurances that the decisions have been made based on 'the science' and the dumping will be subject to rigorous conditions, the very fact of the decisions by both the Commonwealth government and GBRMPA call into question the real intent of the Act.