WWF And UNESCO Express Concerns About Great Barrier Reef

Last month UNESCO released a report which expresses regret and concern over the decision by the Federal Government to allow dredge spoil dumping at Abbot Point and the potential for serious worsening in the health of the reef

Richard Leck of the WWF says this is the first comment by the international organisation on the decision to allow the dumping in reef waters of over three million cubic meters of dredge spoil.

“UNESCO’S concern is shared by thousands of Australians and hundreds of leading scientists and we call on the Federal Government to ban dumping of dredge spoil in the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area prior to the World Heritage Committee meeting in June,” Mr Leck said.

The report also suggest the World Heritage Committee may well declare the Great Barrier Reed a  ‘World Heritage in Danger’.

UNESCO said it was worried about the potential for serious decline in Great Barrier Reef’s condition, particularly in reef building and coral recruitment across large parts of the property. The agency argues that it is not an option to take a business as usual approach.

UNESCO said it noted with “concern and regret” that the dumping at Abbot Point was approved despite the fact there were lower impact dumping alternatives that may exist.

The report also criticized the offset conditions applied to Abbot Point by suggesting they were inappropriate. The agency also expressed displeasure at the decision to permit another gas hib in Gladstone Harbour, and said it was worried about the potential for a leaking bund wall.

UNESCO has called on the Federal Government to offer a more updated report on its plans for managing the reef before the next meeting by the World Heritage Committee which will decide whether to list the reef as a “World Heritage In Danger”

UNESCO also called on the Federal Government to provide an updated report detailing improved management of the Reef before the World Heritage Committee decides whether or not to declare it ‘World Heritage in Danger” at its 2015 meeting.

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