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Reef Report for Friday, January 5, 2007

New Political Party Forms in Australia
Top plank in party platform is protecting the reef.

This past month a new political party has formed in Australia, which itís chief platform being the protection of the Great Barrier Reef.

The party, currently named the Save Our Great Barrier Reef Party, has been formed by a consortium of marine tourism operators. © Great Barrier Reef Enterprises The party plans to field candidates for a number of offices in the upcoming federal elections.

You would expect that the interests of the party founders, while focused on protecting the reef, also have in mind the income it generates from tourism, which is a big part of the economy of Queensland.

The statements of the current party head, Col Mackenzie, seem to indicate a broader set of concerns, as he said "Tourism in the catchment of the (Great Barrier Reef) employs 63,000 people and is worth $5.8 billion, this is not just a tourism industry or environmental problem. If we are not viable, the whole region's economy will collapse and we will see businesses close, jobs disappear and the futures of our children drastically change."

Key areas of concern of the party include global warming, the quality of water flowing into the oceans from shore, as well as scientific research on the reef.

The Great Barrier Reef deserves continued and even improved protection, and sustainable economic activities are one of many good reasons for doing so. It will be interesting to see if this new party attracts a wider membership, as many Australians list the protection of the reef as a worthwhile effort.

Further news coverage of this issue, from the Sydney Morning Herald.

(C) DiveTheReef The weekly reef report is written by Joel Groberg of DiveTheReef.com, who compiles them from the many conversations he has with dive staff in the area, as well as† many other local sources in the dive community.

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