Govt report whitewashes damage to Great Barrier Reef to avoid World Heritage ‘In Danger’ Listing

Press release - 2 February, 2014
Greenpeace Australia Pacific says the Abbott government’s claim that it is making progress in managing and protecting the reef flies in the face of recent approvals of massive coal and gas developments that will damage the reef.

Greenpeace Australia Pacific says the Abbott government’s claim that it is making progress in managing and protecting the reef flies in the face of recent approvals of massive coal and gas developments that will damage the reef.

Greenpeace Climate Campaigner Louise Matthiesson says today’s report, 2014 State Party Report on the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area, just released by the Environment Minister Greg Hunt, should do little to sway UNESCO’s World Heritage Committee from placing the Reef on the World Heritage ‘In Danger’ List when it considers the issue mid year.

"Both the Coalition and Labor have shown no hesitation in approving coal and gas developments that will harm the Great Barrier Reef. They have ignored UNESCO's concerns and thumbed their nose at the international community,” said Ms Matthiesson.

"It's laughable for the Australian Government to claim they're doing everything they can to protect the reef, when they have approved three mega-coal mines in the Galilee Basin, two rail-lines to transport the coal to the coast, three new coal and gas terminals and the dredging and dumping of 3 million cubic metres of seabed inside the World Heritage Area, all since the World Heritage Committee first expressed concern about the pace of development along the Reef coast,”

"No one wants to see the Reef listed as "in-danger" of losing its World Heritage Status - it would be a disaster for our tourism industry - but unless the Government starts to match words with action, and stands up to the coal companies that want to exploit the reef, that is the way things seem to be heading."

Contact: Greenpeace Australia Pacific media officer Alison Orme 0432 332 104

Government media release

Greenpeace photos of the reef: http://www.greenpeacemedia.org/main.php?g2_itemId=16669
username: photos password: green

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