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Green groups cry foul over state's reef 'truth' website

THE State Government has created a website about the Great Barrier Reef to dispel "false and extreme claims" made about it, but green groups are crying censorship.

Launching the website on Sunday, State Environment Minister Andrew Powell said it was an attempt to "put the truth on the table."

"The government is doing more to protect the Great Barrier Reef than any other government has before it - a simple fact that needs to be recognised," Mr Powell said.

The website says environmental groups' claims about the reef had the potential to damage the state's reputation, if left unchecked.

The website points to Australian Institute of Marine Science figures that indicate storms and cyclones have been responsible for about 48% of coral loss, crown of thorns starfish about 42% and coral bleaching 10%.

Australian Marine Conservation Society campaign director Felicity Wishart said the government was working off old figures and what the website omitted was far more interesting than what it included.

"Clearly the Queensland government is feeling the pressure from community concern on dredging and dumping in the reef and the expansion of ports, and they have good reason to be," Ms Wishart said.

"It doesn't discuss the challenges associated with the approval of new dredging projects and port expansion into the future, and doesn't address climate change."

The website is at http://www.reeffacts.qld.gov.au.

Topics:  andrew powell, environment, great barrier reef, queensland government




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