Mar 9, 2006

Howard Government complacency on climate change threatens Queensland tourism ind

Howard Government complacency on climate change threatens Queensland tourism industry

MEDIA RELEASE – ANTHONY ALBANESE MP

9 March 2006

There is overwhelming scientific evidence that climate change caused by carbon pollution is making oceans warmer and more acidic, and that this directly threatens the Great Barrier Reef.

Marine scientists state that warmer and more acidic oceans will “transform the Great Barrier Reef into a bleached maze of dead coral within 20 years”.

Blind Freddy could see that climate change is a threat to the Great Barrier Reef, but John Howard’s Industry, Tourism and Resources Minister Ian Macfarlane denies climate change is even happening.

If climate change destroys the Great Barrier Reef, an industry employing 200,000 people and generating an estimated $4.3 billion for Queensland will be destroyed.

In the Cairns area alone, reef bleaching from climate change is a direct threat to 18,000 jobs and $1 billion income from marine tourism.

Climate change sceptic, Ian Macfarlane, has attacked Labor’s comprehensive plan to avoid dangerous climate change and protect the Great Barrier Reef.

Perhaps Ian Macfarlane should speak to the marine scientists and tourism industry in Cairns and Townsville as Kim Beazley and I have done over the last two days.

John Howard governs for his own political interest, not in the national interest.

Following the successful UN Climate Summit in Montreal, the course for future global action is now clear – mandatory fixed targets for greenhouse gas emission reductions over an extended timetable, with economic instruments driving the move to clean energy.

Labor’s policies are in tune with the world, while John Howard is complacent about climate change.

John Howard’s legacy is that Australia is unprepared for the dramatic impact of climate change.