by Jeni Bone
UNESCO’s World Heritage Committee has deferred a decision to place the Great Barrier Reef on its 'World Heritage in Danger' list, allowing government and officials more time to address water quality, bleaching and loss of coral.
Shipping through the Great Barrier Reef is forecast to grow exponentially in the next 20 years.
The World Heritage Committee met last week for its annual session in the Cambodian capital Phnom Penh and raised concerns about the level of development along the Queensland coast and its impact on the World Heritage site.
The committee was considering whether to adopt UNESCOs recommendations to stop new approvals for port developments along the Queensland coast.
Kimberley Dripps from the federal Environment Department told the hearing that progress was being made to address their concerns and stated that Australia was committed to protecting the site.
Premier Campbell Newman strenuously defended his Government’s actions to protect the World Heritage site, stating that the LNP has halted rampant mining and port development.
That wonderful natural wonder of the world known as the Great Barrier Reef.
'The former government believed in people just being able to draw a line on a map and saying we're going to set up a new port somewhere on the Queensland coast. We've made it very, very clear that we've stopped that. We also have wound back the crazy plans at Abbott Point up north of Bowen, and we will be making that case.'
The committee agreed to adopt a draft decision to defer the matter until the next UNESCO meeting in 2014.
Conservation groups such as Greenpeace are calling on the State Government to make public its conservation plans for the reef. The report was due out in March but has yet to be revealed.