Protect the Great Barrier Reef. Give it a legal identity!

  • by: Michael Taylor
  • recipient: Tony Abbott, Prime Minister of Australia

The Great Barrier Reef belongs to all Australians. It is unique, beautiful, and an Australian icon. It is also a great source of pride, and is more Australian than any other landmark.  It is also what makes Australia, Australia; it is part of our national identity. Has it not also given us so many wonderful memories, and so many different visitors to our shores?

You would think our government would look after and nurture, this treasured symbol of Australia. Yet they are doing the exact opposite. Spurred on by greed and a fundamental flaw; a complete lack of understanding of what they are actually doing. How can we let these people decide on our behalf what happens to our heritage.  I felt so helpless, as the nations cries were ignored.

We knew what the impact of dredging, port and resort developments and increased shipping along the Queensland coast would do to the reef. Yet  We have a case now where the federal government is moving toward giving [development] approval powers to the Queensland government over matters that deal with World Heritage areas. Our council fell on deaf ears. There was nothing we could do.

But now, there is a way.

A legal environmental group wants the Great Barrier Reef to have its own legal identity so governments and developers can be held to account.

The Environmental Defenders Office (EDO) plans to launch a campaign on February 20 to boost support for the idea, which would be an Australian first.

The approach would allow the reef to be defended in court.

By giving the reef legal personality it means that the reef can effectively hold not only the industry but the federal and state governments to account for their mismanagement.

Every person should have the right to act on behalf of the Great Barrier Reef, not just a few elites, bent on monetary gain. The Reef is more than just about money, Australians are better than that. Lets join this fight and push for The Great Barrier Reef to be given it’s own legal identity.

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