World Heritage warning means Burke must refuse Reef dredging permit

Press release - 18 June, 2013
Today’s decision by the World Heritage Committee to give Australia one last chance to act or risk having the Great Barrier Reef listed as “in danger” must spell an end to plans for dredging at Abbot Point, according to Greenpeace.

“Coal port developers want to rip up 3 million cubic metres of seabed and dump the mud straight back in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park” said Greenpeace Queensland Community Campaigner, Louise Matthiesson.

“This is exactly the kind of destructive development that has the world worried about the future of the Great Barrier Reef.”

“Today’s warning from the international community is loud and clear, so it should spur Environment Minister Tony Burke to knock back the dredging permit application that’s sitting in his in-tray right now.”

“There's a real risk the Reef will be listed as 'In Danger' this time next year unless we rein in the expansion of Queensland's coal industry, starting with a halt to the dredging plans at Abbot Point.”

Minister Burke has until the 9th July to make a decision on the dredging application for Abbot Point, where coal companies want to build at least three new terminals to export coal from Queensland’s untapped Galilee Basin.

“Australia has been given one more year to get serious about halting the increase in dredging, shipping and port expansions inside the World Heritage Area."

“Marine and climate scientists are warning us that runaway climate change could kill the Great Barrier Reef. We can have the Reef or we can have an expanded coal industry, but we can't have both” she concluded.

The World Heritage Committee is meeting in Cambodia, and this is the third year in a row that Australia’s management of the Great Barrier Reef has been in the spotlight.

For interviews contact: Louise Matthiesson - 0406 041 428

Greenpeace media officer: Alison Orme - 0432 332 104

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