A spokesman for the Australian government called the scientists' fears 'exaggerated', and said that leading bankers consulted by the government had confirmed that there would be little or no impact on the reef. "In an independent analysis carried out by the CEOs of multinational corporations and major donors to the Liberal Party, it was found that fragile corals actually flourish when buried in contaminated silt. In addition, many reef fish populations increased in both numbers and vitality when fed a steady diet of toxic mine tailings and other waste," he said.
When pressed to share details of the government study, the spokesman admitted that it had not actually been carried out, but if it was, these would undoubtedly be its findings. "The facts, I think, speak for themselves. And the facts are that there's a lot of money riding on this, and the fish can just go piss up a rope. If the Barrier Reef wants to have some say in the running of this country, it can do the same as any other Australian and lobby its elected representatives in Canberra. Or write us an enormous check. Whichever."
The Barrier Reef could not be reached for comment at press time, possibly because it was in the process of being buried under many thousands of tons of sludge.