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Australia weighs Great Barrier Reef health against development plans by Angus Whitley June 03,2012   |  Source: Bloomberg

Australia’s government said it’s balancing economic needs with conservation at the Great Barrier Reef after the United Nations warned the site may be endangered within a year without better protection.

Home to more than 1,500 species of fish, the reef is under threat from coastal development, ports and natural gas projects, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization said in a June 1 report. Unesco may consider in February adding the reef to those World Heritage sites in danger unless there’s “substantial progress,” the organization said.

“We want to make sure we get that environmental best practice,” Infrastructure Minister Anthony Albanese said yesterday on Sky News in Australia. “We can do that and still make sure that we get good economic outcomes.”

The 3,000-kilometer (1,875-mile) marine park flanks the coast of Queensland state, the world’s biggest source of steelmaking coal and the exit route to Asia from ports at Abbot Point and Gladstone. Unesco urged blocking of new port developments and related infrastructure that would affect the Great Barrier Reef, saying the scale of development poses “serious concerns” about the site’s long-term conservation.

Crimping development would risk weakening an industry that

 

© 2012 Bloomberg L.P

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