QLD Govt Attacks NFPs over Reef Campaign
29 April 2014 at 11:08 am
The Queensland Government has accused environmental Not for Profits and corporate activists of misleading the public, as ice cream giant Ben and Jerry’s throws its support behind the WWF’s Fight for the Reef campaign.
Queensland Minister for Environment and Heritage Protection Andrew Powell said the reef protection campaigns were deceitful, an attack on Queensland’s reputation and harmful to jobs.
“There comes a time when you have to call these organisations and groups on their scandalous behaviour,” Minister Powell said. “These alarmist claims are doing nothing but muddying the waters around the real threats to the Great Barrier Reef.”
The Fight for the Reef campaign, a partnership between WWF-Australia and the Australian Marine Conservation Society has urged the Queensland and Federal Governments to prevent environmentally-destructive industrial activities such as dredging and the development of coal ports.
Unilever brand Ben and Jerry’s conducted a national tour throughout April urging its customers to support the campaign.
Powell said the greatest threats to the Reef were extreme weather events and the crown of thorns starfish and that the Queensland Government was taking action to address those issues and improve water quality.
“I am disappointed to see companies like Ben and Jerry’s signing up to a campaign of lies and deceit that has been propagated by WWF and are circulating it to our kids, to young people, to Queenslanders more broadly without first checking the facts,” Powell said.
“Fortunately Queenslanders are smarter than that, Australians are smarter and UNESCO is certainly smarter and will not pander to the scare campaigns that are currently being run.
Minister for Tourism Jann Stuckey said the reef was “looking fantastic”.
“The only threat to tourism and the reef is this misguided and ill-informed campaign,” she said.
“If companies like Unilever and Ben and Jerry’s invested the same amount of interest and finance in a positive campaign then imagine what it could do for tourism in Queensland.
“We have worked in partnership with operators to see this industry rebuild itself after years of neglect. Peddling these false claims will only damage a sector that is on the rebound.”