Queensland’s environment minister, in France for talks on the health of the Great Barrier Reef, says green groups are trashing the state’s reputation.
Queensland’s environment minister has accused conservation groups of “trashing” the state’s reputation overseas.
Andrew Powell, who is responsible for protecting Queensland’s natural assets, has gone to Paris for talks with UNESCO over the status of the Great Barrier Reef.
UNESCO has given Australia until February to show it’s properly managing the reef. If it’s not satisfied it could be listed as a World Heritage site in danger.
Speaking from Paris, Mr Powell accused green groups such as WWF are undermining scientific facts the government is relying on to implement strategies to protect the natural asset.
“The WWF and the likes are very active over here in Europe and they’re continuing to trash the reputation of our great state,” Mr Powell told ABC radio.
He said the main aim of conservation groups was to shut down Queensland’s resource industry, and accused them of focusing too heavily on the impact of port developments on the reef.
But WWF campaigner Richard Leck disputed the claim, saying the organisation was also concerned about other detrimental aspects, including water quality.
“I find it incredibly disappointing that the minister is using this opportunity to attack the WWF,” he said.
He said WWF relied on the best science, including government reports that had painted a worrying picture.
Just last month, the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority released its 2014 outlook report, which outlined the poor health of the reef and key threats, including climate change.
“Even with the recent management initiatives to reduce threats and improve resilience, the overall outlook for the Great Barrier Reef is poor, has worsened since 2009, and is expected to further deteriorate in the future,” the agency’s report said.