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WRAD thanks local Westpac branch for ruling out funding for Adani

Whitsunday Residents Against Dumping (WRAD) this week said Thank you to local Westpac branch for ruling out funding for Adani’s mega Carmichael Mine.

Westpac announced that it would no longer support coal projects, unless projects were extracting only the highest quality coal, where the Carmichael Mine will be extracting only low quality thermal coal.

Maggie Mckeown, spokesperson for WRAD, said that “The Whitsundays community appreciates the commitment Westpac has made to limit funding to projects that would be damaging to the region.”

“By refusing to fund the Adani mine project, Westpac is helping to secure the economic and environmental future of the Whitsundays,” Ms Mckeown said.

“Adani’s Carmichael Mine will directly impact the Reef that the Whitsundays’ economy relies on, by increasing shipping through the Reef and increasing global warming and mass coral bleaching events,” she said.

“Australians put a lot of pressure on Westpac to refuse funding to Adani, and now we are thanking them for listening to our concerns and showing that they value the future of Australia’s climate and economy,” she said.

“Westpac can see that it does not make economic sense to support a company that has a track record of environmental destruction, overseas tax havens and internal corruption,” she said.

“Here in the Whitsundays, we totally rely on the health of the Reef to support our tourism and fishing industries. Adani’s Carmichael Mine will destroy these industries,” she said.

“Just weeks ago, Adani showed once again that it cannot be trusted to operate in our Great Barrier Reef, after it released waste into the neighbouring wetlands and Reef at the Abbot Point Coal terminal,” she said.

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Whitsunday's Reef severely damaged by Cyclone Debbie

Monday 10th April 2017

Two weeks after Cyclone Debbie tore through the Whitsundays, the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority have reported that large amounts of local Reef has been severely damaged. 

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Early surveys have found popular snorkelling spot Blue Pearl Bay, near Hayman Island, and Manta Ray Bay, off Hook Island, sustained extensive damage in the cyclone. Reefs off Hook Island's Luncheon Bay, Maureens Cove and Butterfly Bay are also partly destroyed.

Coral was snapped and a blanket of algae has grown over the dead and rotting coral, which lies pulverised on the sea floor. Some that survived has turned white, having bleached due to stress.

The cyclone's eye crossed the islands, generating wind gusts up to 260 kilometres per hour.

Read more here.

 

TURNBULL COURTS REEF-KILLING ADANI MINE AS ABBOT POINT SPEWS COAL AFTER CYCLONE DEBBIE

Disturbing images have emerged of a major coal dust spill at the Port of Abbot Point after cyclone Debbie.

While Malcolm Turnbull courts Adani’s business, meeting with executives to talk about a potential $1 billion loan, Queensland Government satellite images have revealed a severe coal spill from Adani’s Abbot Point Coal Terminal into the Caley Valley Wetlands in the wake of Cyclone Debbie.

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Not only will this coal dust smother the wetlands, but there is concern that Adani’s stormwater systems won’t cope with current levels of coal, putting our Reef at further risk if the Terminal is expanded. Coal dust kills coral in high concentrations and any spills would compound pressures on our already stressed Reef, already suffering from two back-to-back years of severe coral bleaching.

The World Heritage area surrounding the terminal is home to dugongs, endangered turtles, dolphins and migrating Humpback whales. Caley Valley is an extremely significant wetland area that acts as a filter for the Reef and is a crucial habitat and breeding ground for fish, crabs and over 40,000 waterbirds, including 10 threatened species.

WRAD spokesperson Sandra Williams said “This spill has caused long term damage according to expert Norm Duke, a principal research scientist at James Cook University’s TropWater unit. Mr Duke is an expert in diagnosing contamination of wetlands and he said he has never seen anything as bad as this from coal dust before.”

Ms Williams went on to say: “Not only will this coal dust smother the wetlands, coal dust will have made its way out to the Reef. High concentrations of coal dust, like those seen in the satellite imagery, kills coral. This spill, and any future spills like this, increases the pressure on our Reef which is already suffering after taking a hammering from the unprecedented back-to-back severe coral bleaching.”

“This coal terminal sits on a low lying floodplain surrounded by World Heritage listed area, and this dreadful spillage reinforces just how unsuitable an area Abbot Point is for a coal port. Clearly, this unprepared facility should never be expanded”.

“Adani has track record of environmental destruction in India, and we cannot trust our Reef and wetlands to a company who cannot be expected to comply with regulations in a foreign country.”

"Adani’s current facilities are clearly inadequate to withstand Queensland’s existing weather,” says AMCS Great Barrier Reef Campaigner, Dr Lissa Schindler. “It is alarming that the Port’s storm-water facilities, which have been recently updated, could not handle this cyclone event – in a cyclone-prone region. It is reckless to allow Adani’s Carmichael Coal Mine to go ahead and permit the Port of Abbot Point to double in size. This is a disaster-in-waiting, especially given that severe weather events like this will increase and amplify as climate change worsens.”

“The Caley Valley wetlands at Abbot Point are both nationally and internationally important as they provide breeding and roosting habitats for over 40,000 waterbirds, including 10 threatened species of waterbirds and migratory shorebirds,” says Dr Schindler. “This is an environmental disaster for the Wetlands and another severe blow for the Reef, which is already struggling from coral bleaching and poor water quality.”

“Adani also has a highly dangerous track record on both environmental destruction and human rights. India’s former Environment Minister Mr Jairam Ramesh has said that Mr Adani has not complied with regulations in his own country – and so cannot be expected to comply with regulations in another country.

”It’s sickening that – instead of taking urgent action to stop this mine and protect our wonderful Aussie jewel – our Prime Minister is overseas courting a dangerous foreign company to build the world’s biggest ever coal mine. Adani is a company that is well known to have caused environmental devastation overseas – and we cannot trust them with our Reef.”

 

WRAD steps up to join historic Stop Adani Alliance: this campaign will be bigger than the Franklin

Wednesday 22ND March 2017 

Today in Canberra, veteran environmentalist Bob Brown will join community leaders from around the country to launch the ‘Stop Adani Alliance’ and build the biggest movement in Australia’s history to stop Adani’s dangerous coal mine and end coal for good.

 

 

Whitsunday Residents Against Dumping (WRAD) is an Airlie Beach-based conservation group and founding member of the Alliance. 

WRAD spokesperson Sandra Williams said, “Right now, global warming is causing the Reef to bleach for the second year in a row. There is no more time to waste - we must move away from coal towards clean energy sources if we are to save the Reef.  Now is no time to open up a dirty new coal mine. 

As Whitsunday locals, we are passionate about the Reef - we don’t want to see more dredging, and we don’t want hundreds more ships steered through the Reef each year that pose serious risks for spills and further damage to Reef”

Background to the Stop Adani Alliance: 

  • 13 key environment groups, representing 1.5 million Australians, launch ‘Stop Adani Alliance’
  • New polling shows three quarters of Australians want Adani to fund their own infrastructure, rather than rely on a $1 billion loan of public money
  • Launch to be followed by open strategy session and meetings with influential MPs
  • 13 Alliance members: Bob Brown Foundation, Australian Conservation Foundation, 350.org, GetUp, Australian Youth Climate Coalition, Seed Indigenous Youth Climate Network, Australian Marine Conservation Society, Mackay Conservation Group, North Queensland Conservation Council, Environment Council of Central Queensland, Whitsundays Residents Against Dumping, Market Forces, The Sunrise Project. 

Former Senator, Dr. Bob Brown said, “People are coming together to draw a line in the sand with Adani, just as previous generations did with the Franklin River dam. In fact, the Stop Adani campaign reminds me of the Franklin in many ways, the level of passion and commitment will turn this into a nationwide showdown.

“Adani’s coal mine will be the most dangerous in our history, ramping up global carbon pollution precisely when emissions need to be drastically cut.

“Adani and the Federal government have no idea of the scale of opposition and voter backlash they’re facing - it is time for them to withdraw approvals for the mine and stop coal for good.”

New polling shows three quarters (74.8%) of Australians want Adani to fund their own infrastructure rather than rely on a $1 billion taxpayer subsidy HERE. This comes on the back of recent polls which reveal: the majority of people (63%) think the best thing for Australia would be for Adani to invest in large scale solar not a new coal mine HERE and that Adani’s Carmichael coal mine is a threat to the Reef and should not go ahead (67%)HERE.

Alliance spokesperson, ACF President and businessman Geoff Cousins AM, who flew in yesterday from a Stop Adani tour of India, said “Australians don’t want this dangerous coal mine. It’s clear from new polling that the community are with us - they know coal is a dirty, dying industry.

“Three quarters of Australians are disgusted that Adani, a corporate rogue, could pocket a $1 billion handout of public money for a project that no bank will touch.

“The Government and the Labor Party must categorically rule out any public funding for the mine. This is no time for the Federal Government to be handing over taxpayer money for the most polluting project in Australia that will fuel global warming.”

The new polling also shows that: the majority of people polled (60%) understand that the mining and burning of coal fuels global warming impacts such as heatwaves, bushfires, floods, droughts and more severe and frequent storms and nearly two thirds (64.1%) believe governments should wait for the consent of Aboriginal traditional owners rather than pushing ahead with the mine.

Ms Millie Telford, National Co-Director of the Seed Indigenous Youth Climate Network, said “Adani’s mine will destroy country and the climate forever and devastate the ancestral lands, waters and culture of Aboriginal peoples in the region as well as Indigenous communities who are already on the frontline of climate change.

“State and federal governments are doing Adani’s dirty work for them working to ram through changes to both native title and water laws so their dangerous mine goes ahead, in the face of opposition to the mine from the Wangan and Jagalingou peoples.

“New polling shows that nearly two thirds of Australians believe that state and federal governments should wait until the consent of the Wangan and Jagalingou people is secured.

“As Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people, we have a responsibility to protect country and are rising up against this destructive coal mine. We are proud to join the Stop Adani Alliance and to stand with over two million people around the world who have already taken action to stop this mine.”

FURTHER BACKGROUND

Stop Adani Alliance Declaration

Stop Adani Alliance Background Briefing

Carmichael Mine Fact Sheet - fully referenced

New ReachTEL polling

Environmental Justice Australia The Adani Brief - What governments and financiers need to know about the Adani Group’s record overseas

 

Adani Exposed: two reasons why Adani can’t be trusted to operate in our World Heritage Reef.

From poisoned rivers to dodgy tax havens, Adani’s track record of total disregard for marine ecosystems and surrounding communities has been exposed this week.

Environmental Justice Australia and Get Up! revealed an alarming history of failure to comply with environmental laws and human rights by the foreign mining giant Adani.

With plans to build one of the biggest coal mines on the planet and ship more coal through the Reef, from Abbot Point, here are two issues that really hit home here in the Whitsundays:

Number one: not only did they spill oil and coal into the ocean – they were reluctant to clean it up.

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In 2011, an unseaworthy Adani coal ship sank off the coast of Mumbai, causing a not only a massive oil spill, but also dropping 60,054 metric tonnes of coal into the ocean. It took five years for Adani to make any attempt at cleaning up this mess, leaving mangroves destroyed, beaches polluted and causing serious damage to local marine life and the tourism industry. This area of Mumbai, not unlike our home here in the Whitsundays, is totally reliant on the health of our marine ecosystems for tourism, fishing and recreation.

As you can imagine, the sinking of Adani’s coal ship devastated the tourism industry in this community.

Adani plans to ship 60 million tonnes of coal each year from Abbot Point through the Great Barrier Reef, increasing the risk of more shipping accidents. The Reef is still recovering from the grounding of the Shen Neng coal ship, which left a 400,000-square-metre scar. The Australian Government only recuperated a fraction of the $141 million needed to clean up the disaster.

Politicians should think twice about leaving our Reef in the hands of Adani. The Reef is under existential threat from global warming, coral bleaching and poor water quality, it cannot take on the additional risk from oil spills and other incidents.

 

Number two: Death, injury and underpayment of employees at Adani workplaces. 

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For years Adani's workers have been underpaid and overworked in a construction project in Gujarat, India. Almost one quarter of employees were paid less than the minimum wage of $4 a day, and some were not paid at all. Adani forced them to wait for months to received payment with workers left to live on a miniscule $9 a week 'food allowance'.

In a court hearing here in Australia, Adani’s lawyers said the Carmichael mine would employ around 1400 workers. With the region in a jobs crisis, this has been the only drawcard for the mega mine – but with Adani’s history of employee exploitation, how can Australia entrust our workers’ well-being under Adani. 

Adani's proven track record of environmental destruction, human rights abuses and illegal dealings should sound a stern warning for any government looking to do business with Adani.

Tourism is the biggest industry in the Whitsundays and Queensland, providing around 70,000 jobs - and it relies solely on a healthy Reef. These jobs will be put at risk from the impacts of mega ports and a massive coal mine that will accelerate global warming and lead to more coral bleaching events. In 2016 the Reef suffered the worst coral bleaching event in history when nearly one quarter of the corals died from heat stress.

There is no doubt that Adani’s Carmichael mine will push the Reef and all those regional jobs to the brink. In comparison, Adani’s mega mine will employ only around 1400 workers, many of these being technical, highly skilled positions.

These are just some of the reasons why we need to ask ourselves whether the Whitsundays can afford to do business with Adani.

The other key findings from the Adani Files include:

  • Adani's Australian CEO was Director of Operations at another mining company when it poisoned a river in Zambia that people relied on to survive. Adani hid this from the Australian government.
  • Adani uses dodgy tax havens in the Cayman Islands to hide assets and revenue. 13 of the 26 Adani subsidiaries registered in Australia are ultimately owned in the Cayman Islands. Companies who pay their taxes don't register themselves in the Cayman Islands.  
  • Adani was involved in a bribery scandal that involved bribing customs officials, the police, the State pollution control board and more. Companies who obey the law don't have to pay bribes.
  • There have been deaths, illness and injuries at Adani workplaces. Reports show Adani have exploited and underpaid their workforce, including using child labour.

Now is the time to Take Action against Adani.

Take a look at all the details in the Adani Files and see the Environmental Justice Australia website for heaps of background information.

 

Have we gone coal crazy?

Written by Charlotte Wood in the Huffington Post

Whist temperatures climbed above 47 degrees last week, our Treasurer brandished a lump of coal in Parliament, singing its praises before the chamber. As hundreds of bats dropped dead from their trees in the extreme heat, our Attorney General moved to amend the Native Title Act so that Traditional Owners can’t defend their land from monstrous mining projects like Adani’s mega coal mine. Whilst the NSW Fire Commissioner warned that weather conditions were worse than those that preceded the Black Saturday Fires, our Government suggested that Australia’s largest public pot of clean energy funding could be made available to fund coal. And as climate experts warn that global warming could reach catastrophic levels by the end of the century, Australia successfully bullied the $10 billion Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank to keep investing in coal.

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Read more in our blog post

 

Media release December 20, 2016

Thousands demand Turnbull stop wrecking our Reef with public cash handouts

Concerned communities joined GetUp, the Australian Conservation Foundation, and Avaaz at a rally protesting Prime Minister Turnbull’s broken promise to the Australian people that there would be no public money for Adani’s Carmichael mine.

The groups are delivering delivering a petition with 916, 971 names  of signatures to the Prime Minister expressing outrage at the use of taxpayers money to help build one of the world’s largest coal mines and send hundreds more coal ships through the waters of the Great Barrier Reef.

Sandra Williams, tourism worker of twenty years in the Whitsundays, gateway to the Great Barrier Reef said coastal communities rely on a healthy Reef for a healthy economy and the Adani mine would put it all at risk.

“Locals, business owners and tourism operators are appalled at this government's decision to hand Adani one billion hard-earned taxpayer dollars, less than six months after they went to the electorate with a policy of no public money for Adani.

“This deceitful backflip is despicable and people are rightly outraged. Our jobs are on the line. Mining and burning coal causes dangerous global warming which is killing our Reef.

“If the Reef dies, so does our business. That's what this handout gets us.

“At a time when our Reef is stressed and suffering like never before, our government should be doing and spending more to protect our greatest natural asset. Not giving special treatment to multinational billionaires to wreck it,” said Williams.

NSWNMA nurse and midwife Jacqueline Myers said the government’s reckless decision would drive more frequent and intense heatwaves, killing people.

“This mine comes riddled with disease. Burning coal gives us more heatwaves. Heatwaves which kill more Australians than any other form of extreme weather.

“That’s before we even think about the air pollution caused by coal-burning power, particularly in countries like India. Already, 100,000 people die every year from air pollution in India,” said Myers.

“There's no need to waste billions of dollar of taxpayers’ money each year propping up polluting fossil fuel technology,” says Alex Georgiou, Co-founder of ShineHub, a solar energy brokerage based in Sydney.

“Instead, we should be investing in renewable energy projects that will provide jobs, as well as secure an affordable clean energy future for us all.”

 

Media Release October 11, 2016

 Carmichael fast tracking slap in the face for Reef locals

Whitsunday Residents Against Dumping are outraged the Queensland Government is giving special treatment to Adani whilst ignoring the risks to the Reef.

On Friday 7 October 2016, Minister for State Development, Anthony Lynham, declared that Adani’s Carmichael coal mine a “critical infrastructure project” under the State Development and Public Works Organisation Act 1971 (Qld).

WRAD spokesperson Sandra Williams said, “In a time of undeniable global warming it’s unthinkable the Queensland government are fast tracking new coal mines that will risk the Reef.

“We are deeply disappointed. This decision is a slap in the face for locals who depend on a healthy Reef,” she said.

“The Queensland government were elected on a promise to protect the Reef. They have broken that promise by giving special treatment to Adani, who pay no tax in Australia and who have not secured finance for the Carmichael mine.

“The greatest threat to the Reef is global warming. Mining and burning coal is a major cause of global warming, which heats the Reef’s waters and makes them more acidic.

“Once burnt, the coal from Adani’s Carmichael mine will pump millions of tonnes of air pollution over 60 years and will irreversibly damage the Reef.

“The Great Barrier Reef is critical infrastructure that supports 69 000 tourism jobs and generates $6 billion for the Queensland economy.

“We should be investing in a fast and fair transition to clean renewable energy jobs like solar and wind, to protect the Reef.

“Instead the Palaszczuk Government is propping up a foreign billionaire and supporting an unviable project and a polluting industry.

 “Regional Queenslanders are sick of hollow promises and inappropriate decisions that will risk the Reef, our greatest asset,” she said.

MEDIA ALERT, 07 October2016

Whitsunday residents take Adani’s Abbot Point Coal terminal expansion to court today

WHAT:  Local community group, Whitsunday Residents Against Dumping (WRAD), which aims to protect the Great Barrier Reef from damage, is challenging the lawfulness of the Qld government’s decision to approve Adani’s controversial Abbot Point coal terminal expansion at an an expected one-day hearing.

WHERE:  Court 15, Floor 5. Supreme Court - QEII Courts of Law Complex. 415 George St Brisbane.

WHEN:  Starts 10AM, TODAY (7 October 2016)

FOR COMMENT:  The following are available for comment and have provided quotes, below:

Further background and links to media explainers provided below.

Local grandmother, former tourism worker and spokesperson for Whitsunday Residents Against Dumping, Sandra Williams:

“As residents of the Whitsundays we believe the state government’s approval of a project that will ship millions of tonnes of coal through our vulnerable Great Barrier Reef was not made lawfully.

“The Reef is the lifeblood of our local economy and it is already suffering shocking dieback from global warming. Adani’s controversial port project could push the Reef to the edge, risking more irreparable damage.

“Adding insult to injury, the burning of coal from Adani’s massive Carmichael mine will further, fuel climate change, causing continued coral bleaching events.

“As residents we have been forced to take legal action because, along with many thousands of Australians, we feel state and federal governments are allowing fossil fuel companies to expand this billion dollar project to the detriment of our Reef.

“We have laws in place to protect the Reef and its corals and local marine like the endangered snubfin dolphins, turtles and giant manta ray - we want to make sure those laws have been properly applied before this controversial project is allowed to proceed.”

Jo-Anne Bragg CEO of EDO Qld, lawyers for Whitsunday Residents Against Dumping:

“Our client is in the Queensland Supreme Court for a judicial review of the Queensland Department of Environment’s decision to grant the environmental authority for Adani’s controversial Abbot Point Terminal Zero port expansion.

“This case is about whether the Department properly assessed the project, as required by law, before it granted a green light for the controversial billion dollar project that would sit in the backyard of local residents and in the middle of the precious Great Barrier Reef.

“Today’s independent review is an opportunity for the voice of the community to be heard and the decision-making process of industry and government to be properly scrutinised. Without this court process, community groups like WRAD would not have a legal avenue to hold controversial projects like this to account.


BACKGROUND

  • Sitting adjacent to the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area and 25 kilometres from the town of Bowen, Abbot Point is a headland of great natural significance. Already home to a 50 million tonne coal terminal (T1) since the 1980s, the area faces further threats in the face of two government-supported expansions (T0 by Adani and T3 by GVK Hancock).

  • If T0 is allowed to proceed, and situated between a turtle-nesting beach and naturally significant Caley Valley wetlands, over 1 million cubic metres of dredging will be needed and dumped beside these wetlands. The passage will be used to export 70 mega tonnes of thermal coal per year from the company’s proposed Carmichael mega-mine and other mines in the Galilee Basin through the Great Barrier Reef.

  • Local resident and community group Whitsunday Residents Against Dumping (WRAD), represented by lawyers at EDO Qld, filed an application to the Queensland Supreme Court for judicial review of the Queensland Department of Environment and Heritage Protection’s decision to grant the authority for Adani’s controversial Abbot Point Terminal Zero port expansion.

  • This case is about whether the Department properly assessed the project, as required by law, before it approved the proposal.

  • The application was filed 3 June 2016, followed by a directions hearing on 24 June 2016. The hearing is scheduled for one day on 7 October 2016.

  • The Court’s decision could be handed down within three months.


MEDIA RELEASE, 24 June 2016

Whitsunday residents take Adani's expansion of Abbot Point Terminal to court

Local community group, Whitsunday Residents Against Dumping, which aims to protect the Great Barrier Reef from damage, is asking the QLD Supreme Court to scrutinise whether the QLD Department of Environment properly considered legislative tests when granting authority for Adani's controversial Abbot Point Terminal 0 expansion to go ahead.

The first directions hearing is taking place today in the Queensland Supreme Court.

Local grandmother, former tourism worker and spokesperson for Whitsunday Residents Against Dumping, Sandra Williams said, “Our precious Great Barrier Reef is already in poor health, and Adani’s controversial port project, which will cause irreparable damage, has raised significant concern in our community.

“Residents in our group have never taken legal action before, but we were forced to because of our worry that the approval of the port expansion, which will require damaging dredging and see hundreds of extra ships through the Reef each year, was not lawful.

“There is a question mark over whether the Department of Environment and Heritage Protection properly assessed the project, as required by law, before it gave this billion dollar proposal the green light.

“It is critically important that the decision, which has such grave implications for the Reef, is properly scrutinised.

“Both state and federal governments are allowing fossil fuel companies to expand the port, for a coal project that will decimate the Reef and its glorious corals, and threaten marine life, including endangered snubfin dolphins, turtles and giant manta rays.

“We should not have to take this project to court, but an independent review will help ensure proper scrutiny of the decision-making process.

“Our community group believes the law should be followed to the letter when permitting a project that will ship through our vulnerable Reef millions of tonnes of coal which, once burnt, will fuel climate change and cause continued coral bleaching events.

“We believe the approval was unlawful and, along with many thousands of Australians, feel that it is wrong to damage the glorious Great Barrier Reef to build a port for an unviable foreign owned coal mine that nobody needs,” Ms Williams said.

In the media:

 

ABOUT WRAD

Whitsunday Residents Against Dumping (WRAD) is a volunteer community group that came together in early 2014 to protect the Great Barrier Reef and the Caley Valley Wetlands from the proposed Abbot Point coal port expansion.

To date our community campaign has been hugely successful in raising awareness about the impacts of dredging and dumping in the Reef's waters. In 2015 we helped secure a Federal and Queensland government ban on most dredge spoil dumping in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park and World Heritage Area. It's a great credit to the Whitsunday region!

While our people power has been an incredible success the Reef is still in trouble so we can't give up just yet! Adani are still pursuing plans to expand Abbot Point, and the Reef is under threat from pollution, run-off and global warming. Join us in standing strong to protect the Reef.

 

Show your support by connecting with us on Twitter and Facebook.

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Photo Courtesy Corinn Strickland

 


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