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Abbott Government set to fail on Reef report due today

Media Release
Larissa Waters 1 Feb 2014

The Abbott Government is due to report to the World Heritage Committee today on its shameful treatment of the Great Barrier Reef, in the third State of Conservation Report since the UN expressed "extreme concern" about the Reef.

"The Abbott Government deserves a fail mark on its Reef homework," Senator Larissa Waters, Australian Greens environment spokesperson, said.

"Just yesterday, 3 million cubic metres of dredge spoil was approved to be dumped in the Reef's World Heritage waters for the Abbot Point coal terminal expansion.

"On top of the Abbot Point coal port expansion, the Abbott Government has approved a fourth CSG plant on Curtis Island and Clive Palmer's mega coal mine in the Galilee Basin, which are both set to export through the Reef.

"No amount of greenwash and spin can change the Abbott Government's shameful track record of attack after attack on our Great Barrier Reef.

"The World Heritage Committee has repeated warnings that the Reef's international status could be downgraded to ‘World Heritage In Danger' in June this year if the trajectory of destructive development on the Reef continues.

"The World Heritage Committee's recommendations were clear - no new ports, no port expansions that damage the Outstanding Universal Value of the Reef, and no more approvals until a long term plan for the Reef is prepared.

"Sadly, we've seen multiple port expansions with damaging dredging, dumping and shipping approvals, at as fast a pace as ever, and nothing to rule out new ports in pristine areas.

"Our laws to protect the Reef need strengthening to stop the UN putting the Reef on the international list of shame, alongside struggling nations like Yemen, the Congo and Afghanistan.

"A World Heritage ‘In Danger' listing would risk the $6 billion annual Reef tourism industry and threaten the 63,000 people who rely on a healthy Reef for their jobs.

"With federal Parliament about to resume, the Greens will move to strengthen our environmental laws to ensure World Heritage Committee's recommendations to save the Reef are adopted, and offshore dumping of sludge from dredging is stopped.

"If the old parties don't want to see our Reef end up on the World Heritage ‘In Danger' list, they will support the Greens' new laws," Senator Waters said.

The Australian Government State Party Report to the World Heritage Committee on the Great Barrier Reef will be available here: http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/154/documents/

 

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