Original story at The Australian
AUSTRALIA hasn’t done enough to stop UNESCO listing the Great Barrier Reef as “in danger”, a new report by conservationists says.
The World Heritage Committee will meet in Cambodia this week to consider a draft decision to place the reef on its “danger list” in 2014 unless the Queensland and federal governments clean up their act.
Requests include that no more developments are approved along the Queensland coast that would impact individually or cumulatively on the reef.
Other major concerns include escalating ship traffic through the reef and poor water quality resulting from coastal development.
The WWF and the Australian Marine Conservation Society (AMCS) have released a scorecard, which shows there has been no improvement in managing the impacts of ports and port development along the Great Barrier Reef coast.
They have “major concern” that the Australian and federal governments haven’t developed a policy to contain port development to existing sites, and a number of proposals are progressing through the federal government’s environmental assessment processes.
The governments have also failed to set conservation targets and increase funding enough to stop pollution from catchments. A long-term strategy for sustainability is also overdue.
The WWF’s Great Barrier Reef campaign director Richard Leck says Australia could become the only developed country unable to meet its World Heritage obligations.
“Australian governments now have a firm deadline for action to avoid the global icon being placed on an international list of shame,” he said.
“The eyes of the world will be on the Australian and Queensland governments and the decisions they make in the coming year.”
WWF and the AMCS want tens of thousands of people around the world to create a 24-hour “Twitter Storm” on Monday to show global support to protect the reef.
Comment is being sought from Queensland’s State Development Minister Jeff Seeney and the Federal Environment Minister Tony Burke.