The Coalition’s pledge of $1 billion over 10 years – with funding taken from the Clean Energy Finance Corporation’s $10 billion special account – to improve water quality and support clean energy projects in the reef catchment region dodges the really big threat to the reef: climate change.

“The Australian Conservation Foundation welcomes the Prime Minister’s acknowledgement that climate change as the greatest threat to the reef, but his announcement focuses on water quality and local clean energy projects,” said Australian Conservation Foundation CEO Kelly O’Shanassy.

“Serious as the problems of run-off and crown-of-thorns starfish are, it’s climate change that is threatening the reef’s existence.

“Funding some clean energy projects in the reef’s catchment is a strange distraction from the core issue, given that mining and burning coal is what’s driving global warming – and warmer water is what’s killing the Great Barrier Reef. 

“In the 21st century approving massive new coal mines is incompatible with protecting the Great Barrier Reef.

“If it goes ahead, Adani’s proposed Carmichael coal mine will create billions of tonnes of pollution, making climate change worse and damaging the Great Barrier Reef.

“We urge the Coalition to invest new money in renewable energy and set out a plan for Australia to transition away from coal,” she said.

Asked this morning on RN Breakfast how it was possible to maintain that climate change was the greatest long-term threat to the reef and support the Adani coal mine, Environment Minister Greg Hunt attempted to distance himself from the Adani proposal, describing it as an “Anna Bligh Queensland state project” in which “the Commonwealth’s role is minimal”, even though Mr Hunt has twice granted federal approval for the project.

ACF is challenging Minister Hunt’s approval of the Carmichael mine in the federal court, arguing that the Minister’s approval of the massive coal mine is inconsistent with Australia’s international obligations to protect the Great Barrier Reef, which is a World Heritage site, protected by UN convention.

ACF Media Enquiries

Journalists with enquiries may contact Tom Arup on 0402 482 910 or Josh Meadows on 0439 342 992. For all other enquiries please call 1800 223 669 or email