Chromis damselfish on bleached coral in the Great Barrier Reef. Image Credit: Justin Marshall

UNESCO decision: Great Barrier Reef will not be listed as 'in danger'

  • BY AG Staff |
  • July 06, 2017

The Australian Government welcomed the decision saying that it was proof that the Reef 2050 Plan is working.

ONCE AGAIN, the Great Barrier Reef has avoided being put on UNESCO's 'in danger' list following an annual meeting held last night by the bodies World Heritage Committee (WHC).

Federal Minister for the Environment and Engery, Josh Frydenberg deemed the decision a big win for the Turnbull government, despite that the WHC still raised concerns about water quality and rapid land clearing. 

"We've received a strong endorsement that our Reef 2050 plan, which is a coordinated, integrated plan with the Queensland Government, is working," the minister said. 

The Reef 2050 plan was subject to intense scrutiny in May during a meeting with the Reef 2050 Advisory Committee, where a number of environment lawyers raised concerns, as they believed the plan didn't adequately address the threats of climate change. 

"The Great Barrier reef is under extreme threat from climate change, coal development, overfishing and influx of nutrients and the lack of UNESCO recognition of the danger it is in is perplexing," said David Booth, a professor of marine ecology at the University of Technology Sydney. 

The government was anxious to avoid the 'in danger' list as this would threaten ithe Great Barrier Reef's place on the World Heritage List, while also resulting in off-shoot effects that could harm Queensland's tourism industry. 

Queensland's Minister for the Environment and Energy, Steven Miles credited the near avoidance to Palaszczuk Government, who he believes has been behind all the progress in implementing the Reef 2050 Plan. 

However, Steven recognised the impact of failing to pass certain land clearing laws last year, but has promised to revisit these if the Palaszczuk Government is re-elected.