WWF Says Australian And Queensland Government Failing To Protect Great Barrier Reef

According to a new report by the WWF and the Australian Conservation Society, both the government of Australia and the Queensland government are failing to respond to major concerns by the World Heritage Committee about the Great Barrier Reef.

The World Heritage Committee which is part of UNESCO has made a number of recommendations which are designed to improve reef management. The committee had asked the Australian government to report back on its progress.

The 72 page report seeks to assess the progress made by the governments on the recommendations and gave a scorecard which highlights the government failures. Of seven recommendations from the World Heritage committee the government of Australia and Queensland have failed to make progress nor completed any.

Some of the major concerns listed by the report include:

    • The approval of four major developments within the Great Barrier Reef area by the Federal environment Minister Greg Hunt. This includes a proposal to dump dredge spoil in waters close by the Reef.
    • The Federal Government devolving environmental approval powers to the Government of Queensland which is watering down state regulation that would impede the Reef’s protection.

Richard Leck WWF Reef Campaign Director says we are going backwards on the reef and both the Australian and Queensland governments are full of talk but short on actions.

“The reality on the ground is that major destructive industrial projects that involve outdated practices like dumping dredge spoil in Reef waters continue to be approved. Our World Heritage Status for the Reef is on the line. Do we really want to join the list of shame and have the Reef declared World Heritage in Danger? Imagine the impact that would have on our tourism industry?” he said.

Felicity Wishart Great Barrier Reef Campaign Director for the AMCS says the ball has been dropped by the two governments. Ms. Wishart says either the Queensland and Federal governments fail to understand what is really at stake or worse still they are deliberately ignoring recommendations.

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