WWF-Australia and the Australian Marine Conservation Society say governments have failed to address key concerns raised by the World Heritage Committee, as UNESCO’s deadline runs out today.
As part of their joint campaign Fight for the Reef the two organisations have released a scorecard assessing each government’s response to UNESCO’s fears about industrialisation, including port development, shipping and dredging.
WWF’s Campaign Director, Richard Leck said Australia was in grave danger of losing the Reef’s World Heritage status, tarnishing our international reputation.
“This scorecard shows Australia is falling short of what’s required to save the Reef,” Mr Leck said.
“If UNESCO is concerned, every Australian should be concerned. The Reef is the world’s best-loved natural icon, it deserves nothing less than world’s best management’.
AMCS Campaign Director Felicity Wishart said the scorecard shows fast-tracked port development and a lack of funding for Reef pollution programs were of biggest concern, with governments rating poorly in both categories.
“The sheer size and speed of port and associated development along the Reef coast is unprecedented,” Ms Wishart said.
“Australians love the Reef. It’s the centerpiece of Queensland’s $6 billion dollar reef tourism industry. But this is a wake-up call.
“Dredging, dumping and more ships ploughing through the World Heritage Area could cost Australia the Great Barrier Reef.
“Governments need to end the special treatment, fast tracking and expansion plans for port developments, and focus on investments that will secure the protection of the Great Barrier Reef.”
Press Release, February 1, 2013