Sandbanks and Goldfields are in the sights of a new report which says that Australia’s largest beach resorts have become less safe since the start of the Great Barrier Reef Protected Areas Restoration Act.
The Australian Government-funded Global Safeguards Assessment for the Great Aussie Seas, which was released this week, found that sandbars, popular with tourists, were less secure and that the number of deaths due to a shark attack in 2016 had declined from 20 to eight.
A spokesperson for the Australian Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet said that while the Government was confident in its work, it was “unaware of any further changes to the National Parks and Wildlife Areas in 2016”.
“As a result, the government is committed to continuing its work to protect the Great Australian Seas, including the Reef,” the spokesperson said.
The report found that the total number of fatalities at sandbars fell from 2,852 in 2016 to 1,826 in 2017, while the number on the water dropped from 1,923 in 2016 and 1,746 in 2017.
“The overall safety of the Reef has been improved since the Reef was established in 1884 and the number and type of fatalities is now lower than it has ever been,” the report said.
“The Reef is also achieving safer status for more than 70 per cent of the areas we assessed and in some areas, it has achieved the highest safety rating since the National Marine Parks Act.”
Australia’s Great Barrier reef has been one of the world’s most popular tourist destinations, attracting over 5 million visitors each year.
The iconic reef is the most visited site in the world by both tourists and locals.
More than 50,000 tourists are expected to visit the reef this year, with the tourism sector expected to earn $US50 billion in tourist revenue.
Australia has had a series of shark attacks since 2016, including one at the Goldfields resort in Queensland, which killed a man in December.