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World Heritage Committee rebukes Abbott on Reef protection



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THE HON MARK BUTLER MP SHADOW MINISTER FOR ENVIRONMENT, CLIMATE CHANGE AND WATER MEMBER FOR PORT ADELAIDE

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WORLD HERITAGE COMMITTEE REBUKES ABBOTT ON REEF PROTECTION

The World Heritage Committee has delivered a harsh verdict on the Abbott Government’s failure to protect the Great Barrier Reef, voting to keep alive their threat to list our Australian icon as “in danger”.

The Committee expressed its serious “concern and regret” with the Abbott Government’s plans for Australia’s environment in the deliberation of its decision regarding the Reef, including the decision by Tony Abbott and Greg Hunt to allow the dumping of 3 million cubic metres of dredge spoil in Reef Waters at Abbot Point - despite the Government’s best efforts to have those words removed.

At its annual meeting, the Committee also reiterated its concern about the handover of federal environmental approval powers to the Queensland Government, labelling it as “premature”.

“The World Heritage Committee does not trust Campbell Newman with the Reef; Australians don’t either,” Shadow Environment Minister Mark Butler said.

“With this latest warning from the World Heritage Committee, Labor calls on Tony Abbott to reconsider his dangerous handover of federal environmental approval powers.

“Protection of the Great Barrier Reef should be the responsibility of the national government. That’s how the World Heritage Committee sees it; it’s how Australians see it too.

“This Government has taken its anti-environment agenda to the international stage and has been embarrassed as a result. “Tony Abbott has yet again embarrassed Australia on the world stage.

“Whether he’s destroying the Reef, plundering World Heritage Forests, threatening to end renewable energy, introducing dud policies to tackle climate change that all

the experts agree won’t work and will cost the taxpayer billions of dollars, or even “agreeing to disagree” with the President of the United States on climate change; Tony Abbott has made Australia an international laughing stock.

“Thankfully, the World Heritage Committee knows better.”

THURSDAY, 19 JUNE 2014

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