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UN: Reef at risk from port works

A UNESCO report says the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Site could be in danger if "threatening" developments like ports infrastructure get the green light.

The report expresses "extreme concern" about the rapid increase of coastal developments, including ports infrastructure in and around the Great Barrier Reef and has been welcomed by the Capricorn Conservation Council.

"Considering the high rate of approvals over the past 12 years, this unprecedented scale of development potentially affecting the property poses serious concerns over its long-term conservation," the report said.

The "in danger" status could be applied if the Federal Government does not give the world heritage site committee evidence of substantial progress before February 1.

The report found unaddressed concerns regarding the protection and management of the port and LNG facilities in Gladstone Harbour and on Curtis Island.

Recommendations of an independent review of the management of Gladstone Harbour have been made.

Queensland Resources Council chief executive Michael Roche said new export opportunities for Central Queensland required a concerted effort by all.

"It's important to note that the industry has long demonstrated its commitment to protecting the reef through direct funding of essential reef research and through meeting the exact environmental protection standards of the State and Federal governments in seeking project approvals," he said.

"There is no basis or place for alarmist claims from the anti-coal movement.

"The report should be welcomed for ignoring the alarmist claims of Greenpeace and their fellow travellers," Mr Roche said.

Coal Port Proposals

The three Keppel Bay projects are:

  • Xstrata's Balaclava Island Coal Export Terminal
  • The Mitchell Group's Fitzroy Terminal project
  • Gladstone Ports Corporation's proposed wharf development on the north side of Curtis Island and Sea Hill



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