THE LATEST: Australian Fed Govt Meets Over Reef’s Future

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Great Barrier Reef Ministerial Forum

Today, Queensland government officials Tony Burke and Martin Fergusen met in Brisbane behind closed doors to discuss the 35th Great Barrier Reef ForumMinisters discussed strategic management issues and the evidently declining water quality.

While the government recently attempted to ease panic over the reef’s unstable condition, coral experts wasted no time sounding off, naming the reef’s condition a “national crisis.”

The federal government has endured harsh criticism on their perceived lack of reef protection. Environmental groups like Australian Marine Conservation Society (ACMS), Greenpeace, and the UN’s UNESCO accused the Federal Government of being too lenient on big business ventures.

UNESCO was particularly vocal about their disapproval, saying that coastal development, ports, and shipping were among the highest threats endangering the reef and the feds were not enforcing preventative measures. The federal government has until February 1st to report their new protective measures to UNESCO. The report, said the World Wildlife Fund, should be released sometime before Christmas.

According to the Gladstone Observer, this Great Barrier Reef “report card” is evidently two and a half years late.

“This was the publication of a report card to do with water quality on the GBR from 30th June 2010. Why are they sitting on this report, what do they have to hide?” WWF representative Nick Heath told the Observer on Monday.

The government was under additional scrutiny for recently allowing the continued use of the chemical, Diuron. The toxic pesticide is suspected to put the reef in serious danger. The WWF said  Diuron could “destroy the Great Barrier Reef and put the health of residents at risk if not completely banned”. Other environmentalists are joining in on the discussion in an attempt to get the chemical banned.

Experts are anxious to see what preventative measures the Qld government will come up with to save the reef. Until then, details are vague.

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