Queensland’s peak body for the resources sector has welcomed the release of the Australian Government’s progress report to UNESCO’s World Heritage Committee on the state of conservation of the Great Barrier Reef (‘the State Party Report’).
Queensland Resource Council Chief Executive Michael Roche said the report outlines the significant progress made by Australia in the past 12 months to comprehensively deliver on the requests of the World Heritage Committee (WHC) concerning the management of the Reef.
“The State Party Report again documents the real threats to the reef as being extreme weather events, the potential effects of climate change, the crown of thorns starfish infestations and nutrient and sediment run-off from land clearing and broad-scale agriculture,” Mr Roche said.
“Flying in the face of the hysterical reaction from some quarters to the granting on Friday of a dredging permit at Abbot Point, the State Party report identifies impacts from port development and dredging as minor, temporary and localised.”
Mr Roche congratulated the Australian and Queensland Governments and their partners in industry and the research community for the fine work being done to turn around the health of the reef, particularly with the efforts on controlling the crown of thorns infestations and improving agricultural practices.
“I urge everyone interested in the health of the reef to read the State Party Report,” said Mr Roche.
“The report documents for example the severe impacts of cyclones and the resultant flood plumes.”
Mr Roche said the report also outlined the measures being pursued with industry support to further enhance shipping safety and reduce the environmental impacts of shipping, under the North East Shipping Management Plan.
“Industry also has lent its support to the Queensland Government’s ports strategy, which restricts any significant port development to existing ports such as Abbot Point and Gladstone.”
Mr Roche said that one gap in the State Party Report was that it overlooked the economic contribution of the resource sector operations that rely on ports adjacent to the Reef.
“In 2012-13, Queensland resources operations directly injected spending of $38 billion into the Queensland economy, and was responsible for one in four dollars of the Queensland economy and one in five jobs.”
Press Release, February 3, 2014