All references to Australia were removed from the final version of a major UN report on climate change after the Australian government intervened, arguing that the information could harm tourism.
The report World Heritage and Tourism in a Changing Climate, initially had a key chapter on the Great Barrier Reef, as well as small sections on Kakadu and Tasmanian forests.
But when the Department of Environment saw a draft of the report, it objected, and every mention of Australia was removed.
No sections about any other country were removed from the report. The removals left Australia as the only inhabited continent on the planet with no mentions.
A spokesperson for the environment department explained the decision: “Recent experience in Australia had shown that negative commentary about the status of world heritage properties impacted on tourism.”
The news comes less than a year after the Australian government lobbied UNESCO to not list the Great Barrier Reef in its list of World Heritage Sites in Danger.
The removals occurred early this year, when news of the government's plan to sack climate scientist from CSIRO due to budget cuts had just emerged; parts of the Tasmanian world heritage forests were on fire for the first time in recorded history; and a global coral bleaching event was beginning to hit the Great Barrier Reef.