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ACF welcomes REEF marine park expansion plan.

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Australian Conservation Foundation


January 11, 1999




The Australian Conservation Foundation today welcomed Federal Government plans to expand the area of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park a s a significant first step in the battle to save the reef from the numerous threats it is now facing.


ACF Executive Director Don henry commended the decision by Federal Environment Minister Senator Robert Hill which he said was without question, good news for the embattled reef.


"The bad news is that this is one out of ten in terms of the major decisions needed to ensure the reef is properly protected.


"This move alone will not protect it from illegal trawling, from land-based pollution sources like pesticides, chemicals and increase nutrient levels; from some of the biggest mining projects the world has seen in the form of oil shale mines adjacent to reef waters and from increased water temperatures associated with climate change which triggers coral bleaching," he said.


Mr Henry called on the Federal and Queenland Governments to put together and fund a rescue package for the reef "immediately if not sooner”.


"Protection of the reef should be a high priority issue nationally. Not only is it one of the great natural wonders of the world which we are charged with protecting on behalf of the international community, but it is an important sources of jobs and revenue for Australia.


"The most recent figures value the reef at around $1 billion each year from tourism alone, a revenue stream that would be in danger of being turned off if the World Heritage Bureau assessed that it should be placed on the World Heritage "in danger" list," Mr Henry said.


He the bureau would decide at its meeting in June whether to send a team to look at putting the reef on the "in danger' list after receiving a letter last September from three eminent reef experts urging such a visit because of the various threats it was now under.


"In danger listing would be a disaster for the tourism industry, especially coming so soon after the bureau found the proposed Jabiluka uranium posed a serious threat to the World Heritage values of Kakadu National Park.


"We must act now to save this magnificent natural asset and to protect jobs and wealth in creates for all Australians,” Mr Henry said.



WAYNE SANDERSON ON: (07) 3846 1621 OR 0417 723 6619

OR DON HENRY ON: (03) 9926 6701