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Lock the Gate calls for immediate halt to port development after UNESCO finding

The United Nations' call this morning for the Australian government to show substantial progress before February 1 next year on the health of the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage area the shows foolishness of the Queensland government's plans to cut so-called "green tape."

Today's report from UNESCO expressed "extreme concern" about about the future of the Reef given the high rate of approvals and unprecedented scale of development and said the area's world heritage status could be listed as "in danger" as early as 2013 if these "threatening developments" are allowed to proceed.

Lock the Gate Alliance president Drew Hutton said the Newman government should heed the call from UNESCO and place a moratorium on the massive coal port development planned for the Queensland coast.

"The resources boom, together with the state government's obsession with gaining fast-track approvals of mining and coal seam gas projects is endangering some of our most precious environmental assets," Mr Hutton said.

"Campbell Newman must stop looking for short-cuts in the approvals process and focus on protecting industries and people who are currently being hurt and whose livelihoods could well be lost as the result of mining development that is out of control.

"We have farmers in Queensland facing the loss of underground water and productive farm land as the result of mining expansion and now the whole tourism industry faces a bleak future if the GBR world heritage status is endangered.

"That is two out of the four of Mr Newman's pillars of the Queensland economy that will be endangered if he does not proceed with greater caution with development approvals.

"It is one thing to be a can-do premier. It is quite another to do things properly."

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