Greg Hunt wants Great Barrier Reef off UNESCO danger list

ENVIRONMENT Minister Greg Hunt says the government was determined to ensure the Great Barrier Reef did not lose its World Heritage status.

The United Nations' World Heritage Committee has deferred a decision until February next year on whether to list the Great Barrier Reef as being in danger.

Central to their concerns has been a decision to approve the expansion of a coal terminal near the reef that could see the dumping of three million cubic tonnes of dredge spoil in the marine park area.

Mr Hunt, talking on ABC, said the reef had been put on the UNESCO watch list well before the Abbott government came into power.

"It was put on the watch list under somebody else's time and my absolute determination is to have it taken off under our time," he said.

"We inherited five major dredging and spoil disposal projects from the former government which would have had an impact or been deposited within the marine park.

"That is now down to one."

Mr Hunt said the government had also implemented major initiatives to change the way ports are operated up and down that coast.

He said a "line in the sand" had been drawn surrounding future dredging projects.

"We have preserved the Fitzroy Delta, or what is known as Keppel Sound, made dramatic changes against a proposal that was put forward under the former government for Hay Point and the Port of Townsville," he said.

"I have also ruled out a major proposal that would have seen spoil deposited in the marine park off Gladstone."

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