Ashlea-kay Lindeberg, 7, snorkelling at the Great Barrier Reef.
Ashlea-kay Lindeberg, 7, snorkelling at the Great Barrier Reef. Brenda Strong

UNESCO will air reef concerns

UNESCO is coming to Australia to discuss its concerns over industrial development around the Great Barrier Reef, but little is known about what those discussions will involve.

The organisation was alarmed at not being informed about the approval of LNG projects on Curtis Island.

World Wildlife Foundation marine spokesperson Richard Leck said he "absolutely" agreed with UNESCO's concerns.

"We're really worried about the pace of development (on the Queensland coast near the Great Barrier Reef)," he said.

He said UNESCO had a track record of using conservative language, but had used stronger language when describing the Federal Government's decision to approve the project so quickly. He said there was no threat of the reef losing its World Heritage status.

The LNG projects on Curtis Island, and the Western Dredging Project were subjected to an environment impact assessment.

Federal Minister for the Environment Tony Bourke has said the government recognises the World Heritage Committee's concerns.



A UNESCO committee meeting was held in June, in which the following notes were taken:

The World Heritage Committee...

"Notes with extreme concern" the approval of LNG and port facilities on Curtis Island

"Urges the State Party" to undertake a strategic assessment of the entire property, identifying planned and potential future development that could impact its "outstanding universal value".

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