WWF-Australia has acknowledged some positives in the draft Reef 2050 plan but said that overall it falls short of delivering the bold new action required to save the Reef.
Reef 2050, released today, is the Queensland and Australian Governments’ response to the concerns raised by the World Heritage Committee about the poor management of the Great Barrier Reef.
The strength of the final plan due in December will be critical in determining whether or not the Reef is declared “in danger” in 2015.
“WWF recognises that Reef 2050 is a more co-ordinated approach to turning around the Reef’s health,” said WWF-Australia CEO Dermot O’Gorman.
“We also applaud that Reef 2050 rules out port development in the undeveloped areas of Keppel Bay, Fitzroy Delta and North Curtis Island – something the local community has pursued for many years.
“But at this stage Reef 2050 lacks the suite of bold new actions needed to halt the Reef’s decline.
“However, this plan is a draft and now is the time for people to get involved and have a say in saving the Reef.
“We believe that the Queensland and Australian governments are listening. Last week people power helped convince our governments that dumping dredge spoil in reef waters is ‘environmentally the worst option’ and led to moves to reverse the decision to dump three million cubic metres in the sea off Abbot Point.
“WWF has consistently called for a legislated ban on dumping dredge spoil in the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area,” Mr O’Gorman said.
WWF-Australia’s specific concerns with the Reef 2050 draft include that it does not yet:
– Provide the billions of dollars required to restore the health of the Reef
– Set high enough targets to achieve the agricultural pollution cuts needed to boost reef resilience.
– Minimise dredging and ban dumping in the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area.
– Protect Cape York from the impacts of agriculture and port development to ensure the best section of the Reef stays healthy.
– Address the significant weakening of state environmental laws and the proposed hand-over of federal approval powers. We need strong laws which ensure new development doesn’t harm the Reef.
“The Government’s Reef Outlook Report 2014 found that the Reef was in poor condition and there was a serious risk of irreversible decline, if the key threats of climate change, catchment pollution, coastal development and fishing weren’t addressed,” Mr O’Gorman said.
“The Reef is one of the world’s great natural wonders and we cannot allow it to be turned into an industrial park and a shipping super-highway,”
“It is part of our natural heritage and we all have a responsibility as Australians to make sure it is looked after for now and for future generations,” he said.
WWF-Australia is a proud partner in the Fight For The Reef campaign.
To get involved go to www.Fightforthereef.org.au