8 May 2015


With just 50 days before the World Heritage Committee meets in June, WWF-Australia and the Australian Marine Conservation Society (AMCS) today released an urgent Reef “to do” list for the Queensland and Federal Governments. 

That meeting, in Bonn, Germany from June 28 to July 8, will decide if the Reef should be declared World Heritage “in danger” – UNESCO’s list of shame.

Time is running out to complete the following actions which are based largely on promises the two governments said would be delivered by the World Heritage Committee meeting:

  • Implement the federal ban on dumping dredge spoil in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park.
  • Introduce state laws to ban the dumping of dredge spoil in the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area, restrict port development alongside the Reef, limit capital dredging and trans-shipping, and protect the Fitzroy Delta.
  • Commit at least $500 million over the next five years in the Federal budget to fund the Reef 2050 Long Term Sustainability Plan.
  • Enforce existing water quality regulations and require farmers to be accredited to best practice guidelines or operate under an Environmental Risk Management Plan.
  • Convene stakeholder and scientific advisory bodies to oversee the implementation of the Reef 2050 Plan.
  • Prepare a clear implementation strategy to put the Reef 2050 Plan into action.
  • Reinstate Queensland coastal planning, tree clearing and water laws to strengthen environmental protections in Reef catchments.
  • Strengthen the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority by enhancing its independence and providing sufficient resources.
  • Reject any port projects which threaten the Outstanding Universal Value of the Reef.

WWF-Australia spokesperson Richard Leck said the “to do” list was part of an analysis prepared for the World Heritage Committee.

“The World Heritage Committee has an important role to play in tracking the commitments made by the Australian and Queensland Governments and making sure those commitments are delivered,” Mr Leck said.

“Plans need to be translated into meaningful action, and need to be accompanied by sufficient funding. It is not unreasonable to expect an investment in Reef 2050 at the scale needed to deliver its own pollution reduction targets,” he said. 

Great Barrier Reef Campaign Director with AMCS Felicity Wishart said: “The Great Barrier Reef is the jewel in the crown of World Heritage Sites and Australians expect their governments to do more to secure its protection."

“Achieving this “to do” list by late June would be a good start but ultimately it will take years of concerted effort to turn around the Reef’s decline."

“More action will be needed to stop industrialisation, pollution and climate change ruining the Reef,” she said.

WWF-Australia Media Contact:

Mark Symons, Senior Media Officer, 0400 985 571