TV

Waleed Aly Pleads With The Government To “Stop The (Coal) Boats” And Save The Great Barrier Reef

Anyone have odds on Waleed Aly being the first Australian broadcaster to determinedly chant "Stop the boats" on live television?

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On this evening’s episode of The Project, Waleed Aly did two incredibly important things. He reminded us all that we’re missing a crucial opportunity to be calling Federal Environment Minister Greg Hunt “Old Gregg”, and he shined a light on the immediate dangers faced by the already significantly damaged Great Barrier Reef.

I make no apologies for this gif.

A draft report from the United Nations last week suggested that the Australian natural wonder — and real-life home of Nemo — would not be featured on a World Heritage Danger list. And, though this sounds like great news, it’s essentially based on the assumption that our government are already doing everything within their power to protect and restore it.

“For 18,000 years the Reef has thrived, despite whatever nature threw at it,” Aly says. “It’s become the biggest reef on the planet, home to more than 10 percent of all species of fish. And in just a few decades we have managed to trash it … We’ve mined next to it, we’ve thrown dredge onto it, we’ve let sediment run into it, we’ve overfished it and we’ve pumped it full of carbon dioxide — and guess what: we’ve killed half of it in 30 years. Now the side effects of climate change, like coral bleaching, threaten to finish the job.”

Though Hunt promised a great deal of action in his 2050 Long-Term Sustainability Plan, Aly points out there are still two big problems: we’re only one notch ahead of Saudi Arabia in the latest Climate Change Performance Index and we have a Prime Minister who thinks “coal is good for humanity”. It paints a pretty unsettling picture of what this means for the Reef in the near future.

“The UN lists the pollution of marine waters, non-renewable energy facilities and marine transport infrastructure as some of the major things affecting the Reef in 2015,” Aly says. “And all those things are set to increase. And what Old Gregg’s not talking about is the plan he approved last July to create one of the biggest coal mines on the planet right next to the reef. It’s one of nine planned mega-mines in the Galilee Basin that would see up to 27 billion tonnes of coal dug up, transported to the coast, loaded onto giant carriers and shipped right through the Great Barrier Reef.”

So. There that is. Anyone have odds on Waleed Aly being the first Australian broadcaster to determinedly chant “Stop the boats” on live television?