Reef money for foundation with mining industry links

The Great Barrier Reef
Contributed by Adam Carlton

We always knew that there is a connection between the promotion of climate denial and it is always useful to be armed with evidence, showing that these are peddlers of lies for short-term greed.

It is well known that specialist public relations firms that were once engaged to build public opinion around the belief that there is no proof that smoking is bad for you. They also worked for oil. now they have turned their talents, to saying there is no proof that the world’s climate is rising.

Any connection between interests standing to gain from polluting the Great Barrier Reef and and the need to protect it, should concern everyone.

Of the recent$500 million provided in the recent budget for the reef, $144 million of it will be going  to a partnership between the government and the Great Barrier Reef Foundation. The trouble with this, is that the foundation’s , major patron was by Peabody Energy, which had been heavily involved in funding the climate change denial campaign. This corporation went into receivership and no longer exists. But there are others, including Mitsubishi, Rio Tinto, BHP, Origin Energy, AGL and ConocoPhillips Australia. This is enough to suggest that the Great Barrier Reef fondation is compromised. This sort of patronage does not exist without reason.

We know that the Turnbull government is under immense pressure, to look like its doing something to protect the Reef. This certainly fits the bill, with the added benefit of providing a cover for what it really wants to do.

Perhaps there are those within or associated with the foundation, who genuinely want positive action. But this does not get away from the fact that it is compromised by its ties.

The funding is said to be marked for improving water quality, tackling the crown-of-thorns starfish, and expanding reef restoration, and to develop coral that is more resistant to high temperatures and light stress.

There is concern that there will be a new emphasis on promoting solutions through management, without having to do anything about the threat of global arming.

Behind all the fanfare about a newly discovered concern for the future of the world’s biggest reef system, nothing has been done to stop exploration for mineral and gas resources. The danger is that the companies patronising the Great Barrier Reef Foundation, stand first in line to benefit from any discoveries.

This is a clear conflict of interest, which doesn’t create a great deal of optimism about a decisive change in government policy.

 

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