image005The election of the next Queensland government will be held on the 31st of January. Both major parties – the incumbent Liberal National Party and Labor as its main competition – are making promises about investment in the future of the Great Barrier Reef. The Reef has been a topic of strong public and political controversy in recent years, with reports of sustained declines in coral cover and populations of some species coupled with increasing pressure from coastal developments.

With the state election imminent, three members of the conservation planning group – Bob Pressey, Alana Grech, and Jon Day – have teamed up with Jon Brodie of JCU’s TropWater to write an article for The Conversation titled: Six things Queensland’s next government must do to save the Great Barrier Reef. The article has been picked up widely by conservation groups and distributed by GetUp. At the time of posting this news item (22nd January), the article has had over 4,300 reads, 182 tweets, and 286 likes on Facebook, and has generated some lively discussion.



  1. It is of considerable concern that the six issues fail to recognise the impacts of underwater noise in the marine environment. Underwater noise is a major issue in the US and the EU – there’s a smorgasbord of research demonstrating the impacts on coral larvae, fish, cetaceans and marine life. Australia has no legislation at the state or federal level to deal with these impacts and EIS that do mention noise are flimsy, based on out of date data and incapable of projecting the cumulative impacts of the exponential increase in shipping; infrastructure noise; dredging etc.

    Why has the conservation planning panel ignored this issue ?

    1. Thanks for your comment Sue. I agree that underwater noise is a serious issue. You’ll understand that we were limited by space in our article in The Conversation, and wanted to hit a relatively small number of major policy items. We were unable to be comprehensive, so there are many other important topics that we did not mention. I’m in discussion with experts on marine mammals about spatial planning and noise. We also recognised underwater noise in a recent paper on the impacts of ports and shipping on the Great Barrier Reef. If you’d like to drop me a request at I can send you a copy.

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