The Hon. Greg Hunt, Minister for the Environment has issued orders for the creation of regulations for the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority to put an end to the dumping of capital dredge material in the Marine Park once and for all.
This fulfills the historic pledge made in November 2014 at the World Parks Congress, and meets the important commitment made to the UNESCO World Heritage Committee.
“We are ending a century-old practice of dumping in the Marine Park that was fully embraced by Labor Governments at Federal and State level. Labor had the chance to do this but did nothing,” said Hon. Greg Hunt in a release. “We inherited five major proposals from Labor to dispose of dredge spoil in the Marine Park. We have reduced this to zero and are now taking the next step to enshrine a ban in law.”
The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Regulations 1983 will be amended to implement the ban. This is a significant step towards improving and protecting the Marine Park for current and future generations.
“Australians are proud of the reef and it remains one of the great natural wonders of the world,” added the Minister. “The Government has finalized its response to the World Heritage Committee (WHC) with a strong defense of the management of the Great Barrier Reef and concluding that it should not be listed as in danger.”
Next week the Minister will take a trip to Europe highlighting the significant progress made by the Federal Government in responding to challenges facing the Reef since the World Heritage Committee first put it on watch under the previous Labor Government in 2011. Also, there will be talks on the Long-Term Sustainability Plan requested by WHC and State Party Report.
According to Mr. Hunt, over the next decade the Federal and Queensland governments will invest around $2 billion to protect the reef, including a new $40 million Reef Trust to target the priority issues such as reducing nutrient and sediment runoff and targeting the destructive crown-of-thorns starfish.