Destinations

Reef not endangered, but UNESCO to monitor

Australia has much work to do to protect the Great Barrier Reef but has done enough to save the natural wonder from an endangered listing.

UNESCO adopted a draft decision to leave the reef off its “in-danger” list at a meeting in Bonn, Germany, on Wednesday evening (AEST).

But the icon will continue to be monitored by UNESCO, with Australia required to provide an update on its Reef 2050 plan to the World Heritage Centre by December 1, 2016.

Queensland Deputy Premier Jackie Trad said the World Heritage Committee ruling recognised Australia’s efforts to protect the Great Barrier Reef.

However, she said it was by no means a “clear victory” and the federal and state governments must now ensure all of its reef commitments were implemented to keep the natural wonder off the endangered list.

“It (the decision) commends the efforts to date and is all about the implementation of the Reef 2050 plan,” she told AAP from Bonn.

The long-term protection plan bans the dumping at sea of dredge spoil, limits port development and focuses on cleaning up water running onto the reef.

Federal Environment Minister Greg Hunt told World Heritage Committee delegates more than $2 billion was projected to be invested in managing and protecting the reef over the coming decade.

An investment baseline released by Ms Trad at the meeting showed all tiers of government, the private and philanthropic sectors had invested more than $485 million in 2014/15 alone.

Mr Hunt also announced an additional $8 million for enhanced reef monitoring.

Conservation groups say Australia has been placed on probation when it comes to management of the reef as failure to improvements in its health could put it at risk of an “in-danger” listing in 2020.



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