JOINT MEDIA RELEASE WITH HON TONY ABBOTT MP, PRIME MINISTER
The Commonwealth Government will commit an additional $100 million in new funding for the Reef Trust to support the implementation of the historic Reef 2050 Long Term Sustainability Plan for the protection and management of the Great Barrier Reef.
Last year, the Coalition delivered on its commitment to establish a $40 million Reef Trust which has already funded important work to protect the Great Barrier Reef.
The additional $100 million in funding for the Reef Trust announced today will be used to tackle key challenges facing the Reef, in particular projects to improve water quality. This will now lift the Reef Trust to $140 million in value, with the overall investment by governments in the Reef exceeding $2 billion over the next decade.
The work that’s being undertaken to improve water quality builds on the Commonwealth Government’s total and permanent ban on the dumping of capital dredge spoil in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park.
There will be zero capital disposal anywhere in the entire 345,000sq km Marine Park. Together, the 345,000 sq km Commonwealth ban (100% of the Marine Park and 99% of the total ban) and the 3000 sq km Queensland ban (1% of the total ban) will cover 100% of the World Heritage area.
Upon coming to office, we inherited five major proposals from Labor to dispose of dredge spoil in the Marine Park. We have reduced this to zero and are now putting a ban in law.
Today, the Commonwealth Government also announces the appointment of the Commonwealth Chief Scientist, Professor Ian Chubb, to chair an independent scientific panel to advise on funding priorities for the $140 million Reef Trust to assist with qualitative monitoring on achieving targets under the Reef 2050 Long Term Sustainability Plan as well as the overarching vision to improve the Outstanding Universal Value of the Reef every decade between now and 2050.
There are already positive signs. The quality of water entering the Reef is improving.
We have achieved reductions of 11 per cent in sediment, more than 10 per cent in nitrogen, 28 per cent in pesticides and a 16 per cent reduction in dissolved inorganic nitrogen running into the Reef lagoon.
The Reef 2050 Long Term Sustainability Plan released today draws together for the first time all the work, expertise and science critical to managing the Reef for the next three decades and beyond.
We have met or exceeded all of the recommendations that the World Heritage Committee has made to ensure the Great Barrier Reef retains the Outstanding Universal Value for which it was listed in 1981.