The World Heritage Committee has upheld their draft decision handed down in earlier this month on the Great Barrier Reef, which calls upon the Government to stop developments that may affect the Reef until a comprehensive strategic assessment can be completed.
UNESCO sent a monitoring mission to Australia to investigate the impact of development on the Reef, as the Australian Government’s of major CSG port developments within the World Heritage Area and the proposal for six more coal ports sparked an outpouring of concern from the Australian community.
“Environment Minister Tony Burke must now press pause on approving any more huge coal ports or other damaging developments in the Great Barrier Reef, until the strategic assessment is complete – otherwise that assessment will be pure greenwash, unable to stop approvals for the very development the world community is worried about,” Senator Larissa Waters said.
“As far as the Reef is concerned, it’s still business as usual – the ports are still going ahead before we can assess how much development the Reef can handle.
“This decision confirms UNESCO’s initial warning, that the Reef could soon become World Heritage in Danger in eight months unless the Australian Government reverses its program of destruction.
“Both the Queensland and Australian Governments must now ditch their ‘coal at all costs’ strategy, and follow the United Nations’ recommendations to save the Great Barrier Reef before we lose this unique World Heritage marine wilderness.”
Dredging Today Staff, June 29, 2012; Image: westernbasinportdevelopment