Submission on Great Barrier Reef Marine Strategic Assessments

The Minerals Council of Australia welcomes the opportunity to provide a submission on the strategic assessments and associated program reports for the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Marine area and Great Barrier Reef Coastal Zone.

As you are aware, the Minerals Council of Australia (MCA) represents over 85% of minerals production in Australia. The MCA's strategic objective is to advocate public policy and operational practice for a world class industry that is safe, profitable, innovative, environmentally responsible and attuned to community needs and expectations.

In this submission, the MCA recognises and supports the submission made by the Queensland Resources Council (QRC), dated 24 January 2013. The QRC submission provides a comprehensive response to both the marine and coastal zone strategic assessments and has been developed with the input of MCA members.

The minerals industry recognises and respects the outstanding universal value of the Great Barrier Reef (GBR) and is committed to the protection of those values though an appropriate risk based management regime. Further, the industry recognises the need to balance environmental protection, social and cultural values and responsible economic development in areas within and adjacent the GBR Marine Park area.

It has long been recognised that very large world heritage areas such as the GBR need to remain available for multiple uses, including economic development (where it is not inconsistent with the outstanding universal value of the GBR). This is a critical concept given the significant mining, petroleum, agriculture, fishing and tourism industries located adjacent to the GBR and their importance to both the Queensland and national economies.

The MCA supports the general approach taken in the development of the both the GBR marine area and coastal zone strategic assessments. Furthermore, the MCA broadly supports the findings as aligned with current scientific understanding of the key risks to the GBR. This is important context to inform the public debate on GBR management and provides proportionality of scale on the impacts of industry related development such as ports and shipping.

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