In the committee meeting, 19 out of 21 countries agreed that there should not be an immediate in danger listing.
Federal MP George Christensen who represents the federal North Queensland seat of Dawson that contains many of the coastal regions that border the Great Barrier Reef said the ‘in danger’ recommendation clearly had political motivations behind it. He hoped that over the next 12 months, the UN committee would follow the facts and not follow the Chinese Communist Party’s “revenge streak.”
A report by the Australian Institute of Marine Science showed that following three major coral bleaching events over the last five years, widespread coral recovery was taking place.
“And that’s why it is clear that the only way you could consider an ‘in danger’ listing for the Great Barrier Reef is if there was some political motivation involved,” Christensen told The Epoch Times. “And surprise, surprise, the chairman of the committee looking at doing this listing happens to be [from] Communist China.”
He said this latest move was a continuation of the CCP’s “ruthless campaign” against Australia due to domestic policies, particularly related to foreign interference laws.
“[The decision] is a bit humiliating to China because they wanted to do Australia over with this,” Christensen said.
However, Environmental Minister Sussan Ley has downplayed former suggestions China’s beef with Australia was the cause for the listing process on July, 27.
Ley told 2GB radio that in the actual UNESCO meeting, she witnessed the Chinese delegate going along with the overwhelming consensus—from 19 out of 21 countries to delay the decision.
Ley went on to say that potentially “green politics” may have played a part, with various countries using the process to make a broader point about climate change in Australia.
“There was a fair bit of green bureaucracy politics if I can call it that, which you often do find in some of these bodies,” Ley said. “Particularly when they are centred on a big picture without understanding individual countries as well as they should understand Australia.”
Previously Ley had said that the listing process had been extremely problematic since climate change posed the biggest threat to not only the Great Barrier Reef but also 28 other reefs.
“So for our [reef] to be the only one to be singled out in a global call to action on climate change was a real deviation from the process,” Ley told ABC radio. “And that was the point that we wanted to make, and that was the point we made very strongly.”
The Queensland Tourism Industry Council (QTIC) said global warming still presents the greatest threat to the reef and that the decision to defer the vote did not mean the threat disappeared.
“Australia should ensure that all efforts continue on the ground to manage local impacts, namely water quality improvements, and adequate funding is provided,” QTIC CEO Daniel Gschwind told The Epoch Times. “Meanwhile, the reef remains an extraordinary place of vibrant biodiversity and immense attraction to visitors.”
“It should also be noted that the actual management of the reef, by the agencies on the ground and by the tourism industry, has been recognised as world-leading,” he said.
A mission from UNESCO and the International Union for the Conservation of Nature will be invited to visit and assess the Great Barrier Reef in person.