LETTERS: We must do all we can to protect Great Barrier Reef


Response to AgForce criticism of the Senate Enquiry on Reef Water Regulations

AgForce suggests that we should have an independent Office of Scientific Review to check the science that has gone into the assessment of water quality on the Great Barrier Reef and towards the Reef water regulations recently endorsed by the senate inquiry.

They call in to question reef science in general and suggest that the science around water quality has not been adequately reviewed.

This is clearly incorrect.

The hundreds of publications on the science of the GBR come from Australian and international experts from a large number of universities and institutions.

These works have been published in very high impact (prestigious) journals such as Science and Nature where the work is reviewed by editors and then experts in the field and these will be the leading scientists in these fields in the world.

Just in case journals like Science and Nature get it wrong, GBR science has an extraordinary amount of additional review in Queensland.

Every four to five years a detailed Consensus Statement is created.

In this process, a panel of experts get together to go over all the recent work and develop the consensus statement after much review and discussion. 

As well as this, there is a State Government led process called the independent Science Panel that assesses all the data and recent work on water quality.

At a federal level, there is the independent Expert Panel run by the former Chief Scientist Ian Jubb.

This covers all GBR work rather than just water quality. 

So there are many layers of review and assessment and collaboration already on top of the peer review undertaken by the journals for the published work.

What can AgForce possibly hope to achieve by suggesting setting up yet another review, except to try to create a false impression of a problem? 

AgForce acknowledges that climate change is a huge problem for the Great Barrier Reef.

It is crucial that we don't lose corals and other vital GBR elements to factors outside of climate change, such as poor water quality with high sediment and nutrient loads.

There is scientific consensus that agricultural run-off damages inshore ecosystems like corals and seagrass meadows, habitat of threatened species like turtles and dugongs.

Last year the Federal and Queensland government released a Report Card on Reef water quality which gave the inshore Reef a 'D' score for overall condition.

We need these reef water regulations to turn this around.

We must do all we can to try to protect this irreplaceable treasure.

Dr Selina Ward, School of Biological Sciences, The University of Queensland.


Hard copy newspapers

It is a very great pity that newspapers are now distributed in paperless form only, as is the preferred method of most newspaper proprietors in our modern IT era.

Readers who have been loyal to newspaper proprietors via morning delivery through many years but are not IT literate, now need to rely, in many cases, till they hear "through the grape vine" of the passing away of a dear friend or a distant relative perhaps or even to get latest sporting result, or do the previously normal crossword puzzle.

Perhaps we can now empathise with Ned Kelly in his exclamation "Such is life!"

Alan Phillips, Macgregor




Harry's view on NZ election.
Harry's view on NZ election.


ORACLE. MP O'Rouke, your claim on TV that the mayoral laws about runner up replacing an incapacitated mayor will only make sense if it was extended to all democratically elected public position like yours. Is it? I await your reply.

ANON. A vote for the Torys is vote for a doom an goom Qld in 2021.

LL. What's Clive Palmer on about in his ads blaming ALP for death duties? No such thing in Oz. Duh!

ANT. Thanks to our PM Scott Morrison my wife who works 30hrs a week qualifies as a low income earner and gets your tax cuts to help stimulate the economy. My wife is in a quandary as to what to spend her newly founded windfall of $2 a week on, any ideas!

DOURSCOT. Article Sunday Mail 18 10 20 - ticking box for dud candidate. How true. We should teturn to the case of Vote 1 and no preferences. Labor changed Vote 1 to compulsory preferences. Labor changed the law to benefit themselves. Only a vote for LNP will get this compulsory preference voting law changed back to a sensible and equitable platform.

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