Australia admits neglect of Great Barrier Reef
SYDNEY (AFP) - The Australian government admits the Great Barrier Reef has been neglected for decades after a study showed it has lost more than half its coral cover in the past 27 years.
Environment Minister Tony Burke said research released on Tuesday by scientists from the Australian Institute of Marine Science and the University of Wollongong should be setting off alarm bells across the country.
"I reckon the report would have sent shockwaves through a whole lot of households," he said on Tuesday. "We've all heard about damage to the reef over the years, but that 50 per cent figure, I think, rang a warning bell loud and clear for many people."
Mr Burke said the current government was addressing some of the issues raised but "there's no doubt that there's been a level of neglect for decades which, if it had been dealt with otherwise, we'd be in a much better situation now".