The first 100 days are critical

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Feature Story - 10 September, 2013
We have a new government, but the threat to Australia from climate change transcends left and right. The world is warming and it is now up to the Coalition to lead the nation in facing up to this reality.

© Greenpeace / Michael Amendolia

Tony Abbott is yet to name his Environment Minister, but whoever he or she is will face some crucial choices within the government’s first 100 days. The new Environment Minister will be required to make a decision whether or not to allow dredging in the Great Barrier Reef and the approval of a new coal terminal proposed at Abbot Point in the World Heritage Area. 

It will be a defining moment for the new minister and the new government. No Australian politician wants to start their ministerial career with a decision to threaten the Great Barrier Reef. 

During the election campaign, the Coalition released policy that it promised would address “the threats to the Reef in a focused and strategic way." To approve the dredging of the Great Barrier Reef during the first 100 days of their time in office would make a complete mockery of that promise.

And that’s where your voice can be powerful.

The expansion of destructive coal facilities in the World Heritage Area is being driven by the 
potential for nine mega-mines in Queensland’s vast Galilee Basin to be developed. The Basin 
represents the world’s second largest reserve of unexploited fossil fuel resource and if green-lighted, would result in thousands more coal ships passing through the Great Barrier Reef every year.

© Greenpeace / Paul Hilton

Within this first 100 days, a decision is also due on the approval of the vast Indian-owned Kevin’s Corner mine, also located in the Galilee Basin. Kevin’s Corner alone would result in up to 57.8 million tonnes of carbon emissions every year – nearly twice New Zealand’s domestic energy emissions, according to the International Energy Agency.

A huge public backlash pressured Labor into delaying the project approvals. None of the mines in the Galilee Basin have yet been given the final go ahead and dredging at Abbot Point has stalled. 

Challenges of this scale are never easy.  But time after time, for decades, no matter the government, people like you have taken action to protect the world around us and won. Together, over the past few years alone we had victories ranging from kicking the Margiris supertrawler out of our waters, to protecting the region’s forest through the criminalisation of illegal timber at our borders.

This week, while the government is filling ministerial posts, there are still important opportunities to take action. Together, we can win again.

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