Bishop urges UNESCO not to declare Reef in danger

ENVIRONMENTALISTS claim Australia is not doing enough to ensure the Great Barrier Reef's future, despite the Federal Government's argument the reef is "not in danger".

Foreign Minister Julie Bishop has urged UNESCO not to declare the Great Barrier Reef in danger, pointing to the steps the government is taking to protect the reef.

However, Australian Marine Conservation Society Great Barrier Reef coordinator Felicity Wishart said the work being done was "not enough" to ensure the reef's long-term survival.

"It's a few steps forward and a giant leap backwards," she said.

"The threats to the reef have been clearly documented by governments' own reports. Pretending that the reef is fine, which appears to be the current approach of the Australian and Queensland governments, is ignoring the facts and risks abandoning one of the wonders of the world.

The reef's future was highlighted last month when US President Barack Obama said he wanted his children's children to be able to enjoy the natural wonder.

But Ms Bishop told the Courier Mail the government was acting to secure the reef's future and listing it as endangered could set a precedent for world heritage listed sites.

"It would send a message around the world that even if you meet all of the criteria set out by the world heritage committee, there is still a risk that they will place an area on the in-danger list," she said.


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