Former Reef Authority director slams current management

A FORMER Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority director has claimed Australian authorities are failing to protect one of the world's greatest natural wonders.

He says the dumping of dredge spoil will put further pressure on the reef - already under threat.

Jon Day, who resigned from the authority last month, told ABC's Four Corners alternatives to sea dumping for Abbot Point were not properly considered.

He said the dumping would add to the stress already on the reef from agricultural run-off, overfishing and extreme weather.

"If we take that into account and if we did a proper evaluation of all the alternatives, that decision would not have been made," he said.

"Our own legislative mandate says 'the long-term protection and conservation of the values' . . . and we are not doing that."

Environment Minister Greg Hunt, who appeared on the program which aired on Monday night, said last week the government was determined to ensure the Great Barrier Reef did not lose its World Heritage status.

He said a "line in the sand" had been drawn surrounding future dredging projects.

"It was put on the watch list under somebody else's time and my absolute determination is to have it taken off under our time," he said.

"We inherited five major dredging and spoil disposal projects from the former government which would have had an impact or been deposited within the marine park.

"That is now down to one."

The United Nations' World Heritage Committee will make a decision in February next year on whether to list the Great Barrier Reef as being in danger.



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