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MEDIA RELEASE 16/06/2014

The UNESCO World Heritage Committee will this week discuss the recommendation that the Great Barrier Reef be listed as ‘world heritage in danger’. If the committee decides that the Australian and Queensland Governments have not done enough they are likely to maintain pressure on Australia ahead of a final decision on reef status at the next meeting in 2015.

Reef Rally-21Cairns and Far North Environment Centre (CAFNEC) marine programs coordinator Josh Coates said:

“The World Heritage Committee will again be discussing listing the Great Barrier Reef as ‘World Heritage in danger’ this week and we expect there to be healthy debate.”

“The Queensland and Australian Government have put a lot of work into trying to convince the committee they are addressing UNESCO concerns. However policies such as the Ports Strategy and recent approvals for dredge spoil dumping in the World Heritage area fly in the face of UNESCO recommendations.”

“We expect that the committee will renew calls for Australia to take action to restrict impacts from proposed port developments and will defer a final decision and a potential ‘in danger’ listing for another year. Such a major decision will not be taken lightly and ‘in danger’ listing could impact negatively on tourism in the region.”

“The ball remains in the court of the Queensland and Australian Governments to lift their game and take the actions required to protect the reef from dredging and other impacts associated with proposed port developments. The recently released report card paints a picture of a reef that is, in many areas, in poor condition*. We need to see more effort and money going into preventing damage to the reef and less devoted to spin campaigns that pretend everything is on track.”

“If the Queensland government was serious about protecting our reef and local environments, they should suspend new capital dredging projects. Instead, we face a fight to protect our Cairns and Trinity Inlet environment and the reef, and prevent the risk to our tourism and fisheries industries.”

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