Great Barrier Reef Visits Denied To Media & Pollies Over Tourism Concerns

You might have seen the term ‘coral bleaching’ thrown around quite a bit recently, specifically in reference to our own Great Barrier Reef. In short: it’s bad. Very, very bad. Rising water temperatures have done an absolute number on our greatest natural treasure. 

While the science speaks loudly enough, we’ve now got a deeply human demonstration of how fucked things are: some tourism operators in Queensland are flat-out refusing to take the media and pollies out to the reef, over fears their findings would tank the local tourism industry. 

The Guardian reports key players in the industry recently sunk the opportunity to give Greens leader Richard di Natale a tour near Cairns; it’s reported footage obtained in the area was intended to be part of the party’s upcoming reef policy announcement.

Whitsundays-based dive operator Tony Fontes said that kind of deflection was getting real common, as “nine out of ten refuse, politely, to talk to the media.”

“It seems to be quite prevalent, even amongst fellas that I know are truly green at heart and run eco-tourism operations where they put the reef first and foremost – they won’t talk with media, won’t take media out on their boat.”
Obviously, asking to be shown affected areas suggests a pre-conceived, negative narrative that the operators might be unwilling to entertain. Also, distancing themselves from any set political angle is understandable, but some operators claimed the deflections are necessary to protect an already weakened tourism industry.
FWIW, di Natale did end up scoring a tour with another operator, and you can expect to see some of the damage real soon. Fonte made his thoughts known too, saying “we’ve got this great bleaching event and if we’re serious about the reef and the future, people need to know about it.”

Considering how big the bloody thing is – and how much has been affected – we would have found out eventually. Still, operators moving from drawing attention to the issue, to obscuring it, is very worrying indeed. 

The Guardian. 
Photo: Auscape / Getty.