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Australia to change shipping policy to give greater protection to Great Barrier Reef

Staff Writer |
The Queensland (QLD) State government of Australia has proposed changes to transhipping laws which would limit cargo in the Great Barrier Reef.

QLD minister for environment Leeanne Enoch said the reef needs to be secured for future generations.

"The Reef is under threat, and we need to do everything we can to ensure it is protected," she said on Thursday.

"Our policy will prohibit transhipping within the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park and restrict transhipping operations in the World Heritage Area to areas that are declared ports only."

"For transhipping that occurs outside the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park, appropriate environmental authorities will also be required."

Worth over 4.4 billion U.S. dollars to the Australian economy, the world heritage listed site also provides around 60,000 jobs to the local area

To develop the new policy, the state examined 2,246 public submissions during a lengthy consultation period.

But while the proposed changes may restrict some forms of shipping, Enoch confirmed that vital services would not be disrupted.

"We are committed to avoiding unnecessary impacts on communities, and this is why the policy will not apply to the supply of essential services to remote communities, marine emergency response practices, the movement of cargo between vessels while docked in a port, and refuelling activities," she said.

"In addition, the policy does not apply to packaged or containerized goods at any volume or to bulk materials where the quantity handled is under 100 tons per day."

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