JOINT MEDIA RELEASE WITH HON DR STEVEN MILES MP, QUEENSLAND MINISTER FOR THE ENVIRONMENT & HON JACKIE TRAD MP, QUEENSLAND DEPUTY PREMIER
Australia and Queensland strongly welcome the final and unanimous decision of the UNESCO World Heritage Committee to not place the Great Barrier Reef on its world heritage in-danger list.
In fact, all references to ‘in-danger’ have been completely removed.
Today in Bonn, Germany, the 21 member-country World Heritage Committee reiterated praise for Australia’s strong efforts and approach to protect and manage the iconic Great Barrier Reef.
The final decision upholds the earlier draft decision, and rightly reflects the tremendous effort of Australia to carefully protect this iconic national and international asset through the development of the recently released Reef 2050 Plan.
This is great news for Australia. It’s great news for Queensland. And it’s great news for the Great Barrier Reef.
From banning all capital dredge disposal in the entire World Heritage Area, to increasing monitoring efforts, restricting port development and ensuring the quality of the water entering the Reef is improving, the Australian and Queensland Governments are wholly committed to ensuring the future protection of the Reef.
This is backed by substantial financial resources with over $2 billion dollars projected to be invested in managing and protecting the reef over the coming decade.
The Investment Baseline released today illustrates the substantial investment coming from all tiers of government and the private and philanthropic sectors – with over $485 million in 2014/15 alone.
We are pleased the committee adopted Australia’s proposal to return to a five yearly state of conservation reporting cycle, which is tied to the independent and scientifically robust 2019 Outlook Report undertaken by the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority.
To be clear – this conservation reporting cycle is in line with standard reporting requirements for World Heritage properties.
We will also be pleased to provide the Committee with an update on progress of the implementation of the Reef 2050 Plan in 2017.
We have valued greatly the opportunity to work closely with the technical advisors to the Committee from the UNESCO World Heritage Centre and the IUCN. The Committee’s interest and advice on the Reef has allowed us to realise our strong further actions to protect the reef.
We have already begun implementing our Reef 2050 Plan. It is supported by an Independent Expert Panel, chaired by Australia’s chief scientist, and a Reef Advisory Panel chaired by the Chairman of the Australian Institute of Marine Science – a former Governor of Queensland and Australian Ambassador for the Environment. Civil society will have an ongoing role on the Advisory Panel.
The independent statutory Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority will ensure the plan builds on the best management and scientific advice and with an additional $8 million announced today for enhanced reef monitoring. This will be undertaken by the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority and will further strengthen our ability to adapt and respond to emerging pressures on the Reef.
This decision today in Bonn is a tremendous outcome for Australia, the World Heritage Centre, and most importantly, for the Great Barrier Reef.
The world’s umpire has declared the Great Barrier Reef is not in danger. It is Australia's greatest natural icon and remains the world's Great Barrier Reef.