May 11, 2015 calls on Richard Branson to stand strong on Reef and climate protection

SYDNEY, 11TH May: is urging Virgin Airlines boss Richard Branson to stand strong against the coal lobby’s pressure and stay true to his call for protection of the Great Barrier Reef from coal port expansion.

Echoing the words of international authorities the world over, last week, grave concerns about the state of the Reef in the face of massive coal expansion plans. Today, he has capitulated following Government and industry pressure.

“It’s extremely disappointing to see Richard Branson fall for the coal lobby and Government’s false claims that the Reef is not at risk from coal when we know that it is already under major pressures from climate change and industrialisation. Since 1985, half of the Reef’s coral cover has disappeared, said campaigner Josh Creaser.

“Building one of the world’s largest coal ports on the Reef’s waters will only exacerbate these pressures. Opening up mega coal mines in the Galilee Basin will drive dangerous climate change and expose the Reef to further damaging impacts.

“It’s sheer folly to think that massive coal expansion and a healthy Reef can go hand in hand. Branson must see through this industry spin.

“International pressure to protect the Reef and say no to Galilee coal expansion is vital. In standing by his comments, Branson is in good company — leading scientists, Leonard DiCaprio, Barack Obama, and citizens everywhere are calling for the Reef to be protected from coal,” concluded Mr. Creaser.

From 19-23 May, Australia will be coordinating a week of actions around Australia and the world calling upon the Commonwealth Bank to say no to financing coal expansion in the Galilee Basin and on the Reef. For more information:

Enquiries: Josh Creaser 0410 745 005