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Planning reforms needed to protect Great Barrier Reef

Australian governments must recognise an “urgent need” to reform urban planning policies in order to stop coastal development threatening the Great Barrier Reef, according to James Cook University ecologists.

They have found that 10 per cent of coastline adjacent to the reef is now affected by urban development, resulting in the loss of estuary wetlands and freshwater fisheries habitat.

Researchers at the Queensland university used satellite images to map the extent and ecological impact of urban development and port infrastructure along the coastline and on major rivers, such as the Fitzroy and Burdekin, that flow into the reef.

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