Next month the status of the Great Barrier Reef will be debated by the UNESCO World Heritage Committee.
WWF-Australia and the Australian Marine Conservation Society (AMCS) have issued list of urgent actions needed from the Queensland state and Australian federal governments before countries gather in Bonn, Germany for that meeting.
“The World Heritage Committee has an important role to play in tracking the commitments made by the Australian and Queensland governments and making sure those commitments are delivered,” WWF-Australia spokesperson Richard Leck said.
The following actions are based largely on commitments promised to be delivered by the time the 21 countries of the World Heritage Committee meet:
- Implement the federal ban on dumping dredge spoil in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park;
- Introduce state laws to ban the dumping of dredge spoil in the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area, restrict port construction alongside the reef, limit capital dredging and trans-shipping, and protect the Fitzroy Delta;
- Commit at least AUS$500 million over the next five years in the federal budget to fund the Reef 2050 Long Term Sustainability Plan;
- Enforce existing water quality regulations and require farmers to be accredited to best practice guidelines or to operate under an environmental risk management plan;
- Convene stakeholder and scientific advisory bodies to oversee the implementation of the reef 2050 plan;
- Prepare a clear implementation strategy to put the reef 2050 plan into action;
- Reinstate Queensland coastal planning, tree clearing and water laws to strengthen environmental protections in reef catchments;
- Strengthen the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority by enhancing its independence and providing sufficient resources;
- Reject any port projects that threaten the outstanding universal value of the reef.
“The Great Barrier Reef is the jewel in the crown of World Heritage Sites and Australians expect their governments to do more to secure its protection. More action will be needed to stop industrialization, pollution and climate change ruining the reef,” concluded Great Barrier Reef Campaign Director with AMCS Felicity Wishart.