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Response to recommendations on protecting reef a 'fail'

Senator Larissa Waters said both the state and federal governments deserved a "fail mark" on the response to the committee's recommendations for action to be taken to help protect the Great Barrier Reef.
Senator Larissa Waters said both the state and federal governments deserved a "fail mark" on the response to the committee's recommendations for action to be taken to help protect the Great Barrier Reef. Contributed

THE risk of the Great Barrier Reef being put on the United Nations World Heritage in danger list is real, environmentalists a Queensland Greens Senator said on Thursday.

On Friday, the Federal Government will report to UNESCO on the progress of implementing several of the World Heritage Committee's recommendations about the reef.

The committee expressed its extreme concern about the protection of the reef last year after a monitoring mission to Australia, recommending key actions be taken.

Among the recommendations were for a strategic assessment of the reef, an independent study into Gladstone Harbour water quality management and no new ports be developed outside of existing port areas.

But Senator Larissa Waters said both the state and federal governments deserved a "fail mark" on the response to the committee's recommendations.

"Despite the clear warning from UNESCO in June 2012 that Australia could become the only developed nation with a World Heritage site on the In Danger list, key UNESCO recommendations have been ignored," she said.

"The Government hasn't pushed pause on new or expanded coal and gas ports, hasn't declared pristine Port Alma and its indigenous dolphins off-limits and hasn't done independent studies into the Gladstone Harbour fish and wildlife disease disaster."

While the independent study into the management of Gladstone Harbour water quality has not yet begun, the state and federal government have made progress on the other recommendations.

But neither the study at Gladstone nor the strategic assessment will be completed before the committee meets in June to determine whether or not the reef should be placed on the "in danger list".

Federal Environment Minister Tony Burke was approached for comment for this story, but no response was received by deadline.

Topics:  gladstone harbour, great barrier reef, larissa waters, tony burke, unesco, united nations, world heritage


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