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‘In danger’ label for Great Barrier reef would have been ‘kick in teeth’ for tourism operators: Ley

By news.com.au , in Technology , at July 27, 2021 Tags: ,


Technology

In danger label for Great Barrier reef would have been

At a World Heritage Committee meeting chaired by China, delegates voted not to downgrade the reef to ‘in danger’, after a concerted lobbying effort by Canberra. Picture: Sarah Lai/AFPSource:AFP

Queensland’s tourism operators have avoided a “real kick in the teeth” after the environment minister secured a win to defer listing the Great Barrier Reef’s as “in danger”.

A China-chaired UNESCO World Heritage Committee had recommended the reef be placed on the in-danger list after three mass bleaching events since the last time the site was considered in 2015.

But Sussan Ley refused to accept the recommendation and embarked on a whirlwind lobbying campaign in Europe ahead of a meeting to adopt the decision formally last week.

After years of climate-related damage to its vibrant corals, Australia’s vast Great Barrier Reef avoided being added to UNESCO's list of endangered World Heritage sites. Picture: William West/AFP

After years of climate-related damage to its vibrant corals, Australia’s vast Great Barrier Reef avoided being added to UNESCO’s list of endangered World Heritage sites. Picture: William West/AFPSource:AFP

Speaking with 2GB, the environment minister talked up the deferral as a win for “Team Australia”.

“An in-danger listing would have been a real kick in the teeth to our tourism operators who work so hard, our farmers, our fishers, our marine park managers,” she said.

“Farmers have to watch what they do on their farms so the water quality going into the inshore reef is good, fishers have to report back, marine park managers make sure they kick out anyone who shouldn‘t be there.”

The Australian government said last month it was blindsided by the recommendation and held concerns about Beijing’s influence on the committee.

Environment Minister Sussan Ley said the reef avoiding ‘in danger’ status was a win for tourism operators. Picture: NCA NewsWire/Martin Ollman

Environment Minister Sussan Ley said the reef avoiding ‘in danger’ status was a win for tourism operators. Picture: NCA NewsWire/Martin OllmanSource:News Corp Australia

Fresh off her win, Ms Ley softened her tune on China.

“All I can report is what I saw in the meeting and actually the Chinese delegate went along with the consensus, the overwhelming consensus, which came from 19 out of 21 countries,“ she said.

She also claimed that “green politics” allowed countries to use the recommendation to make a point about climate change.

“There was a fair bit of green bureaucracy politics, if I can call it that, which you often do find in some of these bodies,“ Ms Ley said.

“Particularly when they are centred on a big picture without understanding individual countries as well as they should understand Australia.”



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