Protection of the Great Barrier Reef is usually a pretty contentious issue in Queensland. Just last night a law was passed in through parliment aiming to half the amount of pesticides entering the Great Barrier Reef lagoon from the catchments in under four years time. In order to achieve this, there needs to be significant change in farming practices, and those who fail to comply will face fines of upto $30,000. According to Liberal National Party Member of Parliament Rob Messenger, it’s all a secret deal with the green lobbyists:
“If there was ever proof of an unprecedented level of corruption, it is this putrid piece of legislation”
According to the North Queensland Member of Parliament Shane Knuth:
“This issue of nutrients of farmers that are killing the Great Barrier Reef – the evidence of the scientists proves that it’s just a fable, it’s a myth”
“The Bligh Government’s approach in demonising farmers to seek to reward the radical green extremists.”
Fables and myths from radical green extremists? Really? Consider this: levels of herbicides on the Great Barrier Reef are toxic enough to induce bleaching in corals, alter seagrass function by inhibiting photosynthesis (with knock-on effect to dugong feeding areas), impact on the early life stages of corals (along with reducing their reproductive output), and cause severe dieback in mangroves (which act as nursery areas for juvenile reef fish). Oh, and levels of herbicides are now commonplace in sediments and seagrasses, across river mouths and inshore reefs on the GBR.
So what “evidence of the scientists proves that it’s just a fable, just a myth”? Certainly not a paper written earlier this year (“Agricultural lands are hot-spots for annual runoff polluting the southern Great Barrier Reef lagoon“) concluded that “…grazing lands contribute the majority of the long-term average annual load of most common pollutants”, and suggested that “improved land management targets, rather than water quality targets should be implemented to reduce GBR pollution”.