Australia claims 'substantial' progress on Great Barrier Reef protection
SYDNEY (AFP) - Australia said it had made "substantial" progress on Unesco benchmarks for protection of the Great Barrier Reef on Sunday in a report aimed at staving off a world heritage downgrade.
Environment Minister Greg Hunt said a progress report delivered to the world heritage committee "demonstrates unequivocally the government's commitment to better managing and protecting this natural wonder".
Unesco has warned that without action on rampant coastal development and water quality the reef - which covers an area roughly the size of Italy or Japan - will be declared "World Heritage in Danger" in June.
Mr Hunt released Canberra's latest state party report on the reef on Sunday which he said showed significant progress was being made to address Unesco's concerns.