Hair iron

*Yesterday it was announced that Gina Rinehart’s $6.4 billion Alpha coal mine faces delays after Federal Environment Minister Tony Burke announced he was ‘‘stopping the clock’’ on the project’s environmental approval.

Mr Burke said he no longer trusted Queensland Premier Campbell Newman’s government to carry out a proper environmental assessment of the mega-mine in the Galilee Basin calling the process “seriously deficient”, “shambolic” and  ”hopeless”.

‘‘I don’t have the level of trust in the Queensland government which I wish I had,’’ Mr Burke said. ‘‘I cannot trust them with Queensland jobs. I cannot trust them with the Great Barrier Reef and that’s why I’ll be taking the action I’ve described.’’

Mr Newman swiftly hit back, accusing Mr Burke of going “rogue” and ‘‘playing for Green votes in Sydney and Melbourne’’.

One of those “green voters” is Ginny Gerlach, coordinator of the Keppel and Fitzroy Delta Alliance who blogs here and today writes for The Hoopla…


 width=Oil spills from a Chinese coal carrier on the reef, May 2010.

We tell our children all about the amazing Wonders of the World.

We talk about the man-made ones like the Taj Mahal and the Great Wall of China (and don’t forget those pesky rabbits!).

We extoll the virtues of our iconic natural wonder, the Great Barrier Reef.

The kids do school projects – not like we did, cutting and pasting pictures on to the posters we created, but by cutting and pasting from the internet.

I’ve recently done one of those internet projects and came up with the following information.

“The General Conference of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) met in Paris in 1972 and noted as part of its Convention: “…that the cultural heritage and the natural heritage are increasingly threatened with destruction not only by the traditional causes of decay, but also by changing social and economic conditions which aggravate the situation with even more formidable phenomena of damage or destruction….”

The Taj Mahal and the Great Wall of China are both on the World Heritage List. So is the Great Barrier Reef.

Although mainly known for the wonderful reef areas captured in iconic photos, the Great Barrier Reef also includes many islands, cays and intertidal areas protected by state and federal government legislation.

The biodiversity and interconnectedness between species and habitats makes the Great Barrier Reef one of the richest and most complex natural ecosystems on earth. Coral reef, mangrove and seagrass habitats occur elsewhere on the planet, no other World Heritage Area contains such biological diversity.

OK, I’m feeling pretty pleased with my internet research skills but not so good about the information I want to share with you now.

Will the future generations be getting these pictures off the internet for their school projects?




The pictures of the Taj Mahal and the Great Wall are thankfully Photoshop jobs.

But this is a real photo taken in the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area – on our watch. What are we thinking?



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