The Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area is clearly in danger. But will UNESCO bite the bullet and officially declare it so?
UNESCO acknowledges that the property is iconic. It is the world’s largest coral reef ecosystem. Its size, beauty, composition and biodiversity remain exceptional. But alarm bells rang at UNESCO when it found out it hadn’t been told three LNG plants were being constructed or planned on Curtis Island in the World Heritage Area.
A Mission of the World Heritage Committee visited last year and encountered a Gladstone Harbour in a parlous state, with 45 coastal development proposals in the pipeline.
Moreover, key water quality programs were not in place beyond 2013; coincidentally, the Reef was suffering calamitous floods and a cataclysmic plague of crown of thorns starfish.