Sunday, 3 June 2012

Great Barrier Reef threatened

Courtesy of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority
UNESCO’s report on the Great Barrier Reef says ‘The rapid increase of coastal developments, including ports infrastructure is of significant concern. The property further lacks an overall plan for the future sustainable development of the reef that will lead to protection of Outstanding Universal Value in the long-term’.

It goes on to ‘requests the State Party to not permit any new port development or associated infrastructure outside of the existing and long-established major port areas within or adjoining the property, and to ensure that development is not permitted if it would impact individually or cumulatively on the Outstanding Universal Value of the property’.

The Great Barrier Reef does not currently meet the requirements for inscription on the List of World Heritage in Danger. But the report goes on to say that ‘should some of the most threatening developments proceed further towards consent, it is recommended that the World Heritage Committee considers the possibility of listing the property as being in danger’.

Responses to Report

A statement from Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority Chairman Russell Reichelt says
"We are well across the major threats to the Reef that the report has raised  - the threats to the Reef and the issues impacting on it highlighted in the report are clearly acknowledged in our 2009 Outlook Report. Shipping has also emerged as an issue in recent times. 

"Over the past 35 years, there has been considerable investment and management effort by GBRMPA into building the resilience of the Reef. This has placed it in a far better position to withstand threats to its outlook.

Federal Environment Minister, Tony Burke, said there were no surprises in the report’s findings for the Australian Government, however, it was also important to await the World Heritage Committee's decision after they have considered the State of Conservation report and its recommendations.  

A media release by the Queensland Minister for Environment and Heritage Protection, Andrew Powell says “I share the Premier’s confidence that we will be able to demonstrate to the UN that we can work in coordination with our federal counterparts to ensure Queensland’s economic growth while protecting our environment. Discussions will continue at Cabinet on Monday as to how we can achieve this with a particular focus on port developments."

Get Up is asking for donations for a new ad campaign to run in the key financial markets of Asia and India -- warning potential investors not to touch projects which will industrialise the Great Barrier Reef.

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