One eye on reef preservation: Newman

PREMIER Campbell Newman has told Parliament that the development "free-for-all" along the Queensland coastline has to be reined in.

It follows a critical report card from UNESCO that warned the Great Barrier Reef could be given "in danger" status if ports - especially massive plans for Gladstone - went ahead as slated.

The Premier said there would be a strategic assessment of the reef to ensure Queensland's marine areas were not damaged as the state's resources sector continued to expand.

"That does not rule out future coast development," Mr Newman said.

"It does mean that development must be undertaken with one eye on the state's future prosperity and another on the preservation of the reef."

In the same breath, the Premier took a swipe at his predecessor, saying his government would not be "drive-by, anti-development green groups and headlines".

The assessment of the reef would be done over the next year, a timeframe Mr Newman said would not delay those projects on the cusp of construction.

It will include a ports strategy, a refined Coastal Plan and regional plans to manage how land in the area is used.

The government will also review the use of "offsets", or funds supplied by developers or resource firms, that could be funneled into protecting the reef.

Topics:  campbell newman development great barrier reef

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