Australia's Prime Minister has been condemned, once again, for putting his country's already fragile Great Barrier Reef under threat.
In what could be an environmental disaster with global implications, Australia's federal government decided to allow the dredging of one the Seven Wonders of the Natural World.
Now, the world heritage organisation Unesco has recommended that the global treasure should be placed on its “in danger” list – often dubbed the “shame list” by conservationists.
In its first criticism of the federal government decision to allow dredging of the reef, Unesco said the decision was “noted with concern”, and that it was made “despite an indication that less impacting disposal alternatives may exist”.
The report raised a number of issues regarding the decision to dredge the reef, including the unknown impact of dredge plumes, and the transfer of decision-making powers from the federal government to the Queensland government.
“Given the range of significant threats affecting the property and the conflicting information about the effectiveness of recent decisions and draft policies, significant concern remains regarding the long-term deterioration of key aspects,” the report said.
Abbott, who once famously said that climate change is "crap," has been accused in the past of removing climate policies that protected the environment to allow the rich to become richer.
But Environment Minister Greg Hunt, who last year approved the expansion, said the dredging plan met Austrlia's obligations under the World Heritage Convention.
"Protection for the Great Barrier Reef is an ongoing challenge," he said in a statement.
"We are confident that we have the processes, resources and environmental protection mechanisms in place to ensure that the Great Barrier Reef continues to be among the best managed and protected World Heritage areas in the world."