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Iain McCalman Discusses Minister Hunt’s Recent Great Barrier Reef Decision in the Conversation

Iain McCalman writes for The Conversation in the wake of Minister Hunt’s decision to ‘give up’ on the Reef.

This week, the Federal Environment Minister Greg Hunt approved a number of shipping and gas projects, which will inevitably put the Great Barrier Reef in danger. These projects entail the dredging of 3 million cubic metres of spoil, which will be dumped to swirl through the reef’s waters.

Iain McCalman, Co-Director of the Sydney Environment Institute wrote an article published by The Conversation which discusses the impacts of Minister Hunt’s decision on the Great Barrier Reef. Iain article explains that:

This dredging will enable the development of four coal export terminals, the building of a new coal seam gas refinery and a pipeline, and extended facilities to increase ship traffic through the coral-laden inner channel of the Great Barrier Reef. The minister claims this infusion of coral-choking sediment will be offset by improvements in water quality elsewhere, particularly through restrictions on agricultural sediment from farmers.

Iain asks the question, ‘Will Mr Hunt care when the United Nations decides to put the Great Barrier Reef on the World Heritage in danger list?’

To read Iain’s full article in The Conversation, click here.


Iain McCalman is a highly respected and award-winning professor of history and the humanities at the University of Sydney. He has published numerous books and journal articles. His latest book, The Reef – A Passionate History, from Captain Cook to Climate Change, was published in Australia and the USA. Beyond his research, he has been an historical consultant and narrator for the BBC, ABC and other TV and film documentaries. 

His interest areas are the history of western environmental and cultural crises; scientific voyaging, ethnography and environmentalism and is currently the co-director at the Sydney Environment Institute.