Mr. Fraser assured the committee that the Capricornia Marine Park will be expanded and that the entire reef is already fully protected by an Act of Parliament. “The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park will be gradually enlarged. The question is not whether, but when, ”he said.
“The Commonwealth Government is actively seeking a cooperative approach with the Queensland government to expand the Great Barrier Reef National Park. “
Professor Ralph Slatyer, Australian biologist and former Ambassador to UNESCO, headed the Australian delegation. He said that the inclusion of the three sites on the World Heritage List would be important for their future. He said the Willandra Lakes region, incorporating Mungo National Park, has been at the center of the work of modern archaeologists. The park contains fossils showing evidence of 40,000 years of indigenous habitation.
Queensland Prime Minister Bjelke-Petersen said yesterday that the World Heritage list was “just another piece of paper” that would change absolutely nothing in his government’s plans for the reef.
He said the final form of the marine park would be negotiated between his government and the federal government.
Zoology reader Dr Robert Endears said coral-eating starfish are in plague proportions on the reef. The infestation was triggered by the regeneration of coral forms, which were severely damaged in the first crown of thorns outbreak recorded 15 years ago.