A transformational change in Australia’s assessment of cumulative impacts is required, including the comprehensive assessment of the direct and indirect impacts of coal mining, if the Reef is not to suffer from the “tyranny of small decisions.” As described by Odum (1982), this phenomenon involves a big decision arising post hoc from an accretion of small decisions, without the central question being addressed directly (in this case, how to maintain the values of the Reef) and without constraints or guidance from an effective high-level authority.
(Grech et al. 2016: 205)
Grech, A., Pressey, R. and Day,J. 2016. Coal, Cumulative Impacts, and the Great Barrier Reef. Conservation Letters, Volume 9, Issue 3, pp. 200–207 doi: 10.1111/conl.12208