The Greens have issued an ultimatum to the state and federal governments after the latest report expressed “serious concern” regarding the Great Barrier Reef rescue plan.
UNESCO, which advises the World Heritage Committee, said on Saturday that key targets in the Reef 2050 plan “are not expected to be achieved” and urged Australia “to accelerate efforts”.
In response to the fresh concerns, Queensland Greens Senator Larissa Waters launched a scathing attack on the state and federal governments.
“Meanwhile, Queensland Labor and Turnbull roll out the red carpet and public money for Adani for their deadly mega-coal mine,” Senator Waters said.
“As many scientists have said, our governments must choose between new coal or the reef.
“Will the two old parties back the 70,000 people with reef jobs? Or will they pay back the millions in donations from the mining industry, sign the reef’s death warrant and continue to back Adani?”
Queensland Environment Minister Steven Miles admitted progress had been slow in implemented measures outlined in the reef rescue plan, particularly towards 2018 targets.
However, he blamed “irrational opposition” from Tim Nicholls and the LNP, after the Opposition blocked new land-clearing laws and reef regulations.
In response to concerns regarding the pending Adani coal mine deal, Mr Miles said jumping to conclusions over one planning project was “flawed”.
“Suggesting the state government should make planning decisions project by project in the hope that, on the supply side, we might be able to impact total global emission is just flawed,” he said.
The minister reiterated that the Australian energy market was continuing its transformation to achieve the 50 per cent renewable energy target by 2030.
In a UNESCO praised progress in the inception and initial implementation of the rescue plan but said
“Progress towards achieving water quality targets has been slow and the most immediate water quality targets … are not expected to be achieved within the foreseen time frame,” the report said.
A previous report revealed coral bleaching at the Great barrier Reef in 2016 was even worse than expected. The most severe bleaching was found north of Port Douglas where an estimated 70 per cent of shallow water corals had died.