UN call on Reef a win for NQ

Townsville Bulletin - - NEWS - VIC­TO­RIA NU­GENT vic­to­ria. nu­gent@ news. com. au

THE UNESCO World Her­itage Com­mit­tee de­ci­sion that the Great Bar­rier Reef won’t be listed as in dan­ger is be­ing her­alded as pos­i­tive for North Queens­land.

Yesterday, there was a unan­i­mous vote and even ap­plause for En­vi­ron­ment Min­is­ter Greg Hunt and his del­e­ga­tion at the UNESCO 39th ses­sion of the World Her­itage Com­mit­tee, for their draft man­age­ment plan for the coral reef.

Townsville Mayor Jenny Hill said it was good news for the re­gion and for tourism.

“We didn’t want peo­ple to think we were some sort of en­vi­ron­men­tal van­dals, be­cause we do value the reef,” she said.

“The things that are in­flu­enc­ing the reef are world­wide phe­nom­ena and I think that was recog­nised by UNESCO.

“I’m sure a lot of dive shops and tourism op­er­a­tors will all be breath­ing a sigh of re­lief.”

Townsville En­ter­prise chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer Pa­tri­cia O’Cal­laghan said the de­ci­sion was pos­i­tive.

“The Great Bar­rier Reef is one of the coun­try’s most valu­able nat­u­ral as­sets and this de­ci­sion by the WHC overnight is the right one and is based on science and fact,” she said.

It’s a great

day for Townsville and it’s a great day for Aus­tralia MP EWEN JONES

“The WHC has ac­knowl­edged what we have known for some time and what our State and Fed­eral Gov­ern­ments have worked hard to prove – the Great Bar­rier Reef is the best man­aged reef sys­tem in the world and both tourism and eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment can progress con­fi­dently while op­er­at­ing within the GBR.”

Fed­eral MP for Herbert Ewen Jones said he was “over the moon” that the En­vi­ron­ment Min­is­ter’s ded­i­ca­tion to pre­serv­ing the Great Bar­rier Reef had paid off.

“It’s a great day for Townsville and it’s a great day for Aus­tralia,” he said.

Mr Hunt may have a bat­tle con­vinc­ing Hol­ly­wood ac­tor Leonardo DiCaprio, who fa­mously slammed Aus­tralia last year for its reef man­age­ment.

He in­vited DiCaprio to come join him on a dive or snorkel on the reef.

Mr Hunt said new poli­cies were al­ready see­ing wa­ter qual­ity im­prov­ing.

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