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What you will not see reported about the Great Barrier Reef

Mick Keogh - Tuesday, June 17, 2014
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 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 the 12th of 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.



 
 
Comments
Brian commented on 20-Jun-2014 02:46 PM
For a man who makes his living via research and analysis, it appears you're not very good at it. It was covered by the ABC.

The publication of the article was on 12 June 2014 at 10:18am, the day the report was released.

Several days later, you criticised many ABC reporters via your blog, and then a few days after that, on Beef Central.

Your claim that "good news" about the Great Barrier Reef would "get absolutely no media coverage at all" is wrong. As is the claim that the report was "completely ignored by the media".

I would think a retraction and apology would be in order.
Brian commented on 20-Jun-2014 02:50 PM
It won't let me post the URL, otherwise I would cite it.

The headline is: "Great Barrier Reef health: Report shows UNESCO requests met, Queensland Government says".
Anonymous commented on 20-Jun-2014 03:19 PM
Thankyou for pointing out the report you refer to. Having checked it I think you would agree that the ABC report essentially dealt with the UNESCO listing decision. So while you are correct in stating that the ABC did mention the Queensland Government report about the positive changes that Reef Rescue has brought about, the tone of the ABC coverage was fairly critical, and quoted commentary such as 'this is not enough'. Not once did the ABC report mention any of the positive results that have been achieved by farmers making changes on their land. I also note that on the ABC environment webpage devoted to "Oceans and Reef" there is not any coverage of the results published in the Queensland Government report - but plenty of coverage of a whole range of stories about reef devastation and damage.

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