In an article published on the respected ‘The Conversation’ website former Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority (GBRMPA) director and World Heritage Committee (WHC) delegate John Day has criticized the selective reporting to the UNESCO World Heritage Centre.

Mr Day states that:

“The Australian government’s latest report on the Great Barrier Reef, submitted to the UNESCO World Heritage Centre last Friday, has been carefully crafted and word-smithed, with many of its claims supported by excerpts from earlier reports such as the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority’s 2014 Outlook Report and Strategic Assessment.

But in compiling it, the government has been very selective regarding which facts are presented and which facts are ignored.

With the World Heritage Committee considering whether to officially list the Reef as “in danger”, here are various ways that the true picture is more complicated than the new report implies.”

The article outlines six ways Australia is selectively reporting to the UN on the Great Barrier Reef

1. Many of the reef’s values are not in good condition

2. The ‘ban’ on dumping dredge spoil comes with small print

3. Water quality is still a big problem

4. The biggest threat is still not being effectively addressed [climate change]

5. Not all the recommendations have yet been met

6. More comprehensive monitoring is needed

Mr Day goes on to state that honesty and transparency are essential and notes that “Greg Hunt states the government has “acted with renewed vigour” to address the World Heritage Committee’s concerns. It will be interesting to see what changes will occur in future reports as the result of the incoming Queensland Government.”

The article concludes by saying:

“The Outlook Report released last August by the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority, summarizes the situation:

Even with the recent management initiatives to reduce threats and improve resilience, the overall outlook for the Great Barrier Reef is poor, has worsened since 2009 and is expected to further deteriorate in the future. Greater reductions of all threats at all levels, Reef-wide, regional and local, are required to prevent the projected declines in the GBR and to improve its capacity to recover.

This is the true situation the World Heritage Committee will need to consider in June when deciding whether to officially list the Reef as “in danger”. It remains unclear whether the Australian government has done enough to persuade the Committee that things are moving in the right direction.”

Read the full article here: