Australian and New Zealand flags raised for the centennial of the Great Barrier Reef
AUSTRALIAN and NEW ZEALAND flags have been raised at the Great Ocean Road’s centrepiece of the $10 billion Reef National Park, marking a significant step towards a return to international recognition for the iconic coral reef.
The flag-raising ceremony on Tuesday was the first since the Great Seal of Australia was hoisted at the park’s opening ceremony in March.
Key points:A number of Australian and NZ flags have also been raised to mark the centenary of the Reef’s opening in MarchThe flag was hoisting from a new lighthouse on the Great SandbarA new $1.5 billion facility to boost reef tourism and tourism-related activities in the area has been installed at the centrepiece, where the iconic corals of the reef have been seen in the past.
Australia’s Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet said it was the country’s first such flag-raiser.
The announcement came as Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull confirmed he would not seek re-election in 2020.
Mr Turnbull said the decision to raise the flags was made because Australia had a responsibility to the nation and the Great Australian Barrier Reef was a national treasure.
“It’s an important moment in the history of the nation.
It is a national heritage and one of our national treasures,” he said.
“We’re not going to be distracted by the politics of the day.”
New Zealand’s prime minister Jacinda Ardern said she would also not seek to re-nominate, but instead focus on the “historic” moment.
“Our national interest in this is to be a champion of the great coral reef and its unique ecology and ecosystem, and to be engaged in this in a national context,” she said.
“We’ve always been very supportive of Great Barrier reef tourism.”
“It is very important that Australia recognizes the importance of the coral reef, its importance and its significance in our national identity.”
The reef is currently undergoing major conservation efforts.
The $10.5bn Reef National Parks Conservation and Management Strategy, which includes a $5 billion tourism plan and an increase in the number of tourists, was unveiled last week.
But the government has yet to decide how the money will be spent.
The Great Barrier was originally created in 1851 to protect the Great Indian Ocean.
It’s now home to the world’s largest population of corals and an estimated 5 per cent of the world coral reef species.
The park has been visited by an estimated 20 million tourists a year.
Topics:environment,environmental-impact,coral-reef,australia,aesthetics,world-politics,worldnews,environment,cricket,cobra,aUSTRALIAFirst posted March 07, 2020 07:23:42Contact Greg Sheridan