Published: Mon, April 30, 2018
Research | By Dana Schwartz

Australia announces record investment in Great Barrier Reef

Australia announces record investment in Great Barrier Reef

"These funds represent an unequalled opportunity to create a legacy of hope for future generations", Schubert said in a statement.

She said the government needed to commit to a credible science-based plan to tackle climate change.

As part of the package, to be detailed in the May federal budget, the Turnbull Government will partner with the Great Barrier Reef Foundation through a $444 million agreement to tackle the COTS, reduce pollution and mitigate the impacts of climate change.

Energy Minister Josh Frydenberg said in a televised interview that some of the money would go directly to farmers to modify their practices "to ensure that the reef doesn't get the large amounts of sediment, nitrogen and pesticide run-off which is so damaging to coral and which helps breed this crown-of-thorns starfish".

Although some fear that much of the damage can not be undone, John Schubert, chairman of the Great Barrier Reef Foundation, believes that the government's attention gives the reef "real hope".

Critics seized on Australia's continued subsidized development of gas and coal, especially its openness to the Adani coal mine in northern Australia that would be among the world's largest, pushing coal on boats running near the reef. The proposal also includes A$58 million ($43.8 million) to stem the spread of crown-of-thorn starfish, a poisonous coral-eating predator.

The Nice Barrier Reef covers 216,000sq miles and was world-heritage listed in 1981.

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"You can not protect the reef from puddles of warm water sitting over the entire northern GBR, together with all of the cyclones that came at the same time which were also climate-related". Crown-of-thorns starfish were responsible for nearly half of this decline.

"The Turnbull Government will invest more than $500 million - the largest ever single investment - to protect the reef, secure its viability and the 64,000 jobs that rely on the Reef", Frydenberg said. "And we must unlock new scientific insights that can help restore the reefs that have suffered damage".

"Today's major investment brings real solutions within our grasp", he said.

The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority the Department of the Environment and Energy will also be boosted with $56 million to expand environmental management and compliance operations on the reef.

The federal government of Australia is allocating half a billion dollars to save the Great Barrier Reef from climate change and other threats.

In 2016, Labor also pledged $500 million of funding over five years towards the Reef if elected.

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