QRC fight back against anti-mining activists in new Great Barrier Reef ad blitz

The Queensland Resources Council is launching an advertising campaign it says will inform the public on the health of the Great Barrier Reef.

The QRC said the television commercials would look to dispel the ‘scaremongering’ campaign by environmental activist groups.

“Activists are ignoring the scientific evidence and blatantly peddling the line to Australian and international audiences that port developments, dredging and shipping are endangering the reef,” QRC chief Michael Roche said.

“The activists’ stated objective is to shut down Queensland’s export coal and gas industries.”

Roche said the ads would show that loss of coral over the last 27 years can be attributed to storms and cyclones, crown-of-thorn starfish and coral bleaching.

“Neither an increase in shipping traffic nor port dredging has been scientifically recorded as contributing to coral cover loss or a historical decline in the environmental health of the Great Barrier Reef,” Roche said.

The reef has been at the centre of a massive environmental debate of late after the Abbot Point expansion was approved.

Federal Environment Minister Greg Hunt approved the expansion of Abbot Point coal terminal in December under strict conditions.

The project will include the controversial dredging and dumping of 3 million tonnes of sludge in waters deemed to be a part of the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area.

A court case challenging Hunt’s decision has been filed in Queensland by the Mackay Conservation Group, represented by the Environmental Defenders' Office who will argue Hunt has failed in his obligation to protect the World Heritage Area.

This is the second legal challenge to the proposed Abbot Point development, ABC reports.

The North Queensland Conservation Group launched an appeal against a separate decision to allow the dumping of dredge spoil in reef waters by The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority, which oversees the marine park.

The authority's general manager for Biodiversity, Conservation and Sustainable Use, Bruce Elliot, has defended the decision.

“By granting this permit application with rigorous safeguards, we believe we are able to provide certainty to both the community and the proponent while seeking to ensure transparent and best practice environmental management of the project," he said.

A recent article by coral ecologist Dr Alison Jones said green groups had been wrongly arguing that dredging and dumping were a major threat to the reef.

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