Minister campaigns to support Great Barrier Reef

11 July 2021

Minister for the Environment, Sussan Ley will travel overseas today as part of Morrison Government’s campaign to stand up for Australia’s interests and support Great Barrier Reef communities and Tourism Operators ahead of the UNESCO World Heritage Committee meeting hosted by China later this month.

Minister Ley will visit a number of countries and hold meetings with UNESCO delegates as Australia continues to raise its concerns about a lack of process, including an absence of proper consultation, or a site visit prior to the proposed ‘In Danger Listing’.

“We will strongly oppose the draft decision at the next world Heritage Committee not only because of our concern in relation to the Reef, but because we believe the process risks damaging integrity of the World Heritage System,” Minister Ley said.  

“Our officials remain stunned by a back flip on previous advice from UN officials that no property would face such a recommendation if it wasn’t foreshadowed in 2018/19, and are concerned about a deviation from normal process in assessing World Heritage property conservation status.

“The Great Barrier Reef is the best managed reef in the world and this draft recommendation has been made without examining the Reef first-hand, and without the latest information. 

“A number of countries have also voiced their concerns in regard to World Heritage listing processes and it is important that I take the time to conduct face to face meetings.”

“I want to ensure a proper process for the World Heritage assessment of the Reef and a recognition for the work of scientists, communities, tourism operators and Traditional Owners who are protecting it under the Reef 2050 plan.”