Govt welcomes UNESCO reef decision

Govt welcomes UNESCO reef decision
By admin


The federal government is taking an upbeat approach after the World Heritage Committee gave it a deadline to prove it is looking after the Great Barrier Reef.

The Committee has recognised the significant work Australia has done to protect the tourism icon by not immediately listing it as a site in danger, the government says.

UN cultural group UNESCO made the decision at its annual meeting in Doha on Wednesday night (Australian time), saying the country has until February 1 to prove it is looking after the reef.

Federal Environment Minister Greg Hunt says he's pleased with the decision, saying Australians could be proud of the hard work that was being done to protect the 2300km ecosystem.

UNESCO recognises these efforts are starting to show results, he says adding that the state and federal governments are pumping $180 million each year into reef projects.

However, WWF-Australia spokesman Richard Leck says the committee is maintaining pressure on the Commonwealth to improve protections and address threats posed by developments.

"They've really put the government on notice that they need to lift their game," he told AAP.

He says Australia needs to immediately ban all commercial-scale dredging projects within the marine park area.

The World Heritage Committee will decide at it's meeting in June next year whether to add the reef to its in danger list.

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