New faces at Great Barrier Foundation won’t reverse the dire course for the Reef

SYDNEY, Feb 24 2022 - The appointment of an ex-Telstra CEO and a top civil servant to the leadership of the Great Barrier Reef Foundation will do nothing to safeguard the future of the Reef unless the pair can convince their former colleagues in industry and government to rapidly reduce emissions, Greenpeace Australia Pacific says.

Former Telstra CEO David Thodey and former secretary of the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet, Martin Parkinson, have been named as the chairman and deputy chairman, respectively, of the little known organisation that was given almost half a billion dollars by the Turnbull government in 2018 without a competitive bidding process.

“Thodey says greater collaboration between government and business is needed to save the Reef. The best thing that Thodey and Parkinson can do for the Reef is use their connections in the fossil fuel industry and government to push for deep and rapid cuts to emissions driving the climate crisis that is destroying the Reef,” Greenpeace Australia Pacific Climate Impacts Campaigner, Martin Zavan.

“Over recent years, billions of dollars have been allocated to a number of different projects that fails to address the root cause of the Reef’s degradation – climate change. Since then the Reef’s trajectory has continued to track downwards. Bleaching events have become more frequent and the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority has downgraded the outlook for the Reef from poor to very poor.

“The Morrison Government and the Great Barrier Reef Foundation should have realised long ago that the only way to protect the Reef for future generations is to replace coal with renewables by 2030 and gas soon after.”

The announcement comes with Australia set to host an International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) reactive monitoring mission to the Great Barrier Reef after World Heritage Committee members succumbed to a deceitful lobbying campaign by Environment Minister Sussan Ley and declined to list the Reef as a World Heritage Site “in danger”.

The decision will be revisited in June this year when the World Heritage Committee’s 21 members meet in Kazan, Russia.



Greenpeace Australia Pacific Climate Impacts Campaigner, Martin Zavan

0424 295 422

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