Few believe that the GBRMP is under direct and immediate threat of oil drilling, though there is evidence of petroleum prospecting within the park.
Selling an oil industry adjacent to the GBRMP is not as difficult.
The danger of drilling in waters adjacent to the GBRMP has been highlighted in the last two years by shipping accidents.
The risks to the GBRMP associated with a massive increase in shipping--particularly of oil--are clear.
The history of oil exploration in the Barrier Reef area makes clear the deep involvement of government in a secret plan to open an area running virtually the entire length of the eastern border of the GBRMP.
In 1967, 80,920 square miles of the as-yet-undeclared GBRMP had been leased by the Queensland government for oil and mineral exploration.
After the GBRMP was created in 1975, exploration ceased for several years.
While the GBRMP Act does prohibit drilling for oil inside the park, it does not prevent exploration, scientific expeditions, seismic testing or drilling for core samples.
The results, which included last minute surveys inside the GBRMP, encouraged the oil companies.
Part of the proposed research--both seismic surveys and core sampling--would take place inside GBRMP.
The letter claimed that the portions of the study that took place within the GBRMP would be purely scientific.