The Great Barrier Reef is at an increased risk of ending up in UNESCO’s “in danger” list, the Queensland Government said. However, officials hope that they could prevent this from happening with the action plan provided by Queensland and federal governments to improve the world heritage site’s health by 2050.
“I think it’s a low possibility at this stage, but certainly higher than what we would have thought coming out of that last meeting. After that last meeting, this progress report was a low level check-in to see if Australia and Queensland were doing the things we said we would do,” said Queensland Environment Minister Steven Miles.
As of now, only 32 of the plan’s 151 actions have been achieved. Officials add that 103 are still in progress while three are delayed. The other 12 are not yet performed.
Miles admits that the government failed to commit on land clearing laws but they are now trying to find the opportunity to implement them and hope that the UNESCO will see how hard they are working on saving the environment.
However, Miles fears that passing these laws may only be possible under this Parliament. He hopes that he will win a majority in Parliament in the next election to ensure that these plans would come into fruition.
The plans to save the Greer Barrier Reef, which include improving water quality and other investments, have been sent to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).
Meanwhile, the World Wildlife Fund lamented that the government failed to do its job in protecting the world’s largest coral reef system. The organization added that what the government is doing is not enough.
“If what’s detailed in the report is the sum total of the actions that the Australian and Queensland Governments are going to take, then I think they are risking the world heritage status of the Great Barrier Reef,” added WWF’s Richard Leck. “Scientists know what needs to be done. We need to tackle farm pollution, we need to stop clearing trees in reef catchments and we need to take urgent action on climate change. This report really gives no reassurance on those issues.”