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Officials called to UNESCO reef meeting

AAP logoAAP 18/12/2016

Australian officials will travel to Paris in February to met with UNESCO about efforts to protect the Great Barrier Reef.

The UN body has requested the meeting after the federal and Queensland governments sent their latest update on what action is being taken to conserve the tourism drawcard.

The chances of the reef ending up on a list of World Heritage sites in danger has increased following mass coral bleaching and the defeat of land clearing laws in Queensland's parliament.

However government officials remain hopeful they will be able to avoid an 'in-danger' listing for the reef, which supports thousands of jobs and injects billions in tourism dollars to the economy.

Environment Minister Steven Miles is optimistic UNESCO will give the state government more time to pass laws cracking down on tree clearing, which it has repeatedly linked to reef protection.

"Once those laws are passed the level of tree clearing will fall, which will reduce the amount of sediment running out into the Great Barrier Reef," he told ABC radio on Monday.

Australia is relying on its Reef 2050 Plan to convince the UNESCO to keep the Great Barrier Reef off its list of World Heritage sites in danger, and provided the update on measures being taken to protect it earlier this month.

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