Opinion: What you will not see reported about the Great Barrier Reef

Mick Keogh, Australian Farm Institute, 19/06/2014

Great Barrier Reef


WANT to make some easy money? Make a bet with someone that if a government report was released which contained bad news about the Great Barrier Reef then it would feature as the lead article in national newspapers and ABC current affairs programs.

But if a report provided good news about the Great Barrier Reef, then it would get absolutely no media coverage at all.

The above bet would earn you easy money, because there have been plenty of examples of the prominence given to bad news stories about the Great Barrier Reef (most regularly by ABC environment reporters), yet a very positive government report released in the last few days about the Great Barrier Reef has been completely ignored by the media, and in particular by those same ABC environment reporters.

The Australian Government Department of the Environment released a report on 12 June, 2014, on the results of the Reef Rescue Program that was initiated in 2008. The program involves joint industry-government efforts to undertake actions on farm land that are considered to be likely to better protect the Great Barrier Reef.

The report detailed a long list of achievements arising from the program.

Among the positive outcomes was the fact that actions by farmers have stopped almost 25,000 semi-trailer loads of sediment being washed into the waters of the reef, that the number of farmers involved in the program is nearly double the initial target, and that over 2,000 kilometres of river frontage has been protected under the program. Some of the more notable achievements are listed in the extracts below.

What a pity that media outlets, and in particular the ABC, are so trigger-happy when it comes to even a hint of bad news about issues like the Great Barrier Reef, yet completely ignore a report like this that highlights the positive achievements that can arise when industry and government work together.

GRB report table 1

Outcomes from the Australian Government Reef Achievement report. Click on images above to view in larger format.

GRB report table 2

Outcomes from the Australian Government Reef Achievement report. Click on images above to view in larger format.


Mick Keogh is the executive director of the Australian Farm Institute. This article was originally published on the Australian Farm Institute website, to view the original article click here



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