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The Hon Peter Garrett AM MP
Minister for the Environment, Heritage and the Arts

The Hon Martin Ferguson MP
Minister for Resources, Energy and Tourism

Ban on greenhouse gas storage in Great Barrier Reef

Joint Media release
1 September 2008

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The protection of the iconic Great Barrier Reef will be strengthened by banning geosequestration in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park, Environment Peter Garrett and Resources Minister Martin Ferguson announced today.

The Ministers said mining and drilling activities had long been prohibited throughout the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area and new legislative changes to be introduced into the Senate today will expand that prohibition to include the geological storage of carbon dioxide - otherwise known as geosequestration.

"The Reef is the world's largest living organism, celebrated both at home and abroad for its stunning beauty and international environmental significance, so it is vital that we protect it now and into the future, particularly as it struggles with the impacts of climate change and declining water quality," Mr Garrett said.

"The new amendments underline the Government's commitment to ensuring that the Reef is given the best possible chance to regain its inbuilt natural resilience and ability to cope with other environmental pressures."

Martin Ferguson said the capture and geological storage of carbon dioxide was one of a suite of options to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions, but locations other than the Great Barrier Reef were more appropriate "Australia is one of the first countries in the world to establish a framework to support the deployment of important technology to help lower emissions with the Offshore Petroleum (Greenhouse Gas Storage) Bill 2008.

"We have been very clear that the Reef is not being considered for the geological storage of greenhouse gases. This amendment provides absolute confidence that activities like mining, drilling, and geosequestration will not take place within the Reef."

The amendments to the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Act have been tabled in the Senate today.

Commonwealth of Australia