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Byron Shire
April 19, 2021

Rally to save Reef on Australia Day weekend

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Members of Positive Change for Marine Life at a previous rally on Byron Bay's Main Beach.
Members of Positive Change for Marine Life at a previous rally on Byron Bay’s Main Beach.

It is ironic that on the eve of Australia Day, thousands of Aussies will be rallying to save one of the country’s greatest landmarks and one of the world’s ecological wonders: the Great Barrier Reef. The event will take place at Main Beach on Sunday from midday.

Byron Bay will this weekend be the local focus of a national campaign to save the reef, even as the government and corporations that are in the throes of destroying it call them unAustralian.

Organisers of the Rally for the Reef say its plight has reached the 11th hour.

Among other things are calling on the general public to divest their money from the four banks funding port expansion along the Queensland coast, in a bid to reduce the impact of these potentially devastating development projects.

Reef defence organisation Protect the Reef, together with several other conservation groups, have orchestrated 11 rallies across Australia and internationally to empower and inform the general public.

Combining scientific facts, insider knowledge of the mining industry through an array of speakers, and a host of live music and performances, each event will be both entertaining and informative, bringing about a greater awareness of one of Australia’s most celebrated and at-risk natural wonders.

The rallies come as a result of the Australian government’s recent decision to ‘fast-track’ port expansions and dredging projects along the northern Queensland coastline, which will see devastating impacts upon marine wildlife and reef health on a large scale.

Rally organiser and Protect the Reef ambassador, Mollie Cox, says that it is of utmost importance that the public get involved in the conservation of the Great Barrier Reef, particularly in time for Queensland state election.

‘We aim to give the public the knowledge and tools to make their own impact when it comes to saving Australia’s precious Great Barrier Reef at these nation-wide events. There is no more important time than now to halt our support for those companies and banks profiting off of the destruction of the reef, and get involved in initiatives to save this fragile marine ecosystem

Everybody can stand up and be counted, and we need the caring public present at these rallies to send a strong message to the Australian Government: the reef belongs to all of us, including future generations.’

Until the destructive industrialisation of the Great Barrier Reef comes to an end, Protect The Reef alongside several other conservation groups, will continue their work in educating the public, empowering communities and taking direct action in a bid to protect the reef.

The Byron Bay Protect The Reef Rally will occur on Sunday January 25, at Main Beach Park, opposite Beach Hotel, in the shade.

Live music and speakers will commence at noon. Organisers encourage attendees to bring banners or come dressed as their favourite reef character. Prizes will be awarded to the most creative sign and costume!

For more information on how to take part or get involved with Protect The Reef visit:



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  1. Dear Molly – as you would be aware there have been a number of recent studies into the health of the Great Barrier Reef led by the Australian Institute of Marine Science (2012), James Cook University (2013) and the CSIRO (2009-14). The overwhelming scientific consensus is that storms, crown of thorns starfish and coral bleaching have been responsible for a 50% coral cover loss over the past 30 years. Sediment and nutrient run-off from farms and towns surrounding the 35 river catchments entering the reef lagoon are linked to the latest starfish outbreaks. Improving water quality in the 2300 km long lagoon holds the key to restoring coral. CSIRO estimates an annual average disbursement of 17 million tonnes from river catchments. Shipping and ports maintenance have not been identified as contributors to the overall decline of the reef. The ports service more than one million people living in central and north Queensland and are responsible for the carriage of exports (resources, agriculture and tourism) valued at $40 billion in 2012. The ports occupy a total area of less than one percent of the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area. I trust you will make every endeavour to inform your gathering of these facts.

    • The points you make mention in your post are facts. But all that they can think about is climate change and destroying developments that would damage the Australian economy. The problems that the barrier reef is suffering from are far easier to bring under control by science than fixing the climate to suit us.
      They want to destroy all of the developments, then among other things they also blame the government because the unemployment figures are on the rise.

  2. Save the Reef from what.
    This is just another one of those “I need to feel relevant in this day and age so I will campaign for useless things”, the Reef is alright,it has been around for a very long time through all manner of climate change storms ocean heights and attacks from all types of creatures and the environment,so please leave it alone the Reef doesn’t need you it doesn’t want you it doesn’t know you exist.

  3. If they really believe that the barrier reef is in trouble then,they must fix the easiest problem first, by completely eliminating the King of thorn star fish. Then when they have successfully done that ,then they can try and fix the much more difficult problem which is the climate.
    They’ve already been at war with the star fish for many decades, but the star fish numbers has increased in numbers more than ever.
    So .. my common sense tells me that if they cant get rid of the king of thorn star fish,then they haven’t got a hope in hell of fixing the climate to suit the barrier reef. 130

  4. Gary, I think that most of your points are valid and that the majority of people working within the non-profit sector focused on the reef understand and would agree with you on many of them. I have to disagree on one, however, and that is that shipping and ports maintenance have not been identified as contributors to the overall decline of the reef. Shipping and ports have been identified as minor threats to the reef and with a lack research into the exact impacts of ports and shipping it is difficult t quantify just how big that impact is.

    I don’t think that anyone in their right mind would say that ports and shipping aren’t contributing to the demise of the reef if they had visited any of these areas and seen first hand the damage that they are doing. Have you visited Gladstone Harbour at all, or done any research into the Western Basin Dredging Project or the LNG hubs on Curtis Island? Gladstone is a prime example of the damage that shipping and port projects can have on ecosystems and the reef, then there’s the sedimentation noted all along the reef from dredging, the shipping accidents, like the Sheng Neng 1 in 2010 that damaged over 3km of reef and spilled 3-4 tonnes of oil straight into the waters of the reef. Then there’s the impacts of marine debris and other waste that is been thrown overboard and disposed of from these huge tankers. The effects of this are just beginning to be understood and there is research being undertaken at Central Queensland University into the impacts on marine life within the GBR.

    I could go on and on regarding the other impacts that ports and shipping have on the reef, including the massive impacts that this industry is having on wetlands, which are vital to the health of the reef. If you want to talk about economies and jobs, have a look at how many jobs tourism along the reef creates each year and the amount of money that it contributes to the Australian economy, also do some reading into fossil fuels and the fact that the glory days are over and the world is moving away from fossil fuels to renewable energies. If Australia doesn’t catch up with the rest of the world soon and dump these dirty fuels we’ll be left with a country devoid of a healthy environment with an abundance of fossil fuels that we can’t sell. If you don’t believe me just take a look at the German energy revolution, there are countless other countries that are doing the same and I’d have to say that their economies trump that of Australia’s.

    It’s time this country got with the program and stepped away from archaic industries and practices, the rest of the world are moving forward and we’re still debating about whether climate change is real…get with the program or we’ll be the ones seeking asylum on foreign soil and who knows, maybe karma will catch up with us and they won’t let us in!


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