The new IUCN World Heritage Outlook 2014 has rated the Great Barrier Reef as “of significant concern” from a range of factors including ports and shipping.
Felicity Wishart, Great Barrier Reef campaign director for the Australian Marine Conservation Society, said: “This report validates our concerns about the expansion of ports and shipping in the Reef.”
“The IUCN has listed the Great Barrier Reef as an area of ‘significant concern’ under its new Conservation Outlook report, launched at the World Parks Congress in Sydney last week.
“The World Heritage Outlook assessment of Reef health is deeply concerning.
“The IUCN is a key advisory body to the UNESCO World Heritage Committee which will decide at its meeting in June 2015 whether the Reef is placed on the World Heritage In Danger list.
“The World Heritage Outlook assessment is raising serious concerns about the future of the Reef and is expecting a stronger response from government to do more.
“Currently the Queensland government is planning to dump 3 million tonnes of dredge spoil from the proposed Abbot Point port expansion on precious Caley Valley wetlands right next to the Reef. Wetlands are the natural filters and fish nurseries for the Reef and no place to dump dredge spoil.
“Both the Queensland and Australian governments are risking a repeat of mistakes made in Gladstone Harbour which experienced an environmental disaster following port expansion, dredging and dumping in 2011.
“If they allow all the planned port expansions to proceed it also risks turning the Reef into a shipping super highway.
“The clock is ticking on the time to take real action to save the Reef for future generations,” said Ms Wishart.