The Turnbull Government is committed to preserving our natural environment for future generations.
We recognise both its intrinsic value, and the contribution it makes to our transitioning economy, which is reliant on employment-intensive industries like tourism.
The Turnbull Government is doing more than ever before to protect the Great Barrier Reef and the 2016 Budget strengthens this commitment with a $171.0 million boost.
Included in this is a $70 million additional injection to the Reef Trust – bringing the Government’s total investment in the Reef Trust to $210 million.
The Reef Trust invests in practical on-the-ground projects that boost water quality – a key objective of the Government’s historic Reef 2050 Long Term Sustainability Plan and which is part of our commitment to the World Heritage Committee on ensuring the Reef is protected for future generations to enjoy.
In addition to this, the Government is allocating $101 million from within the National Landcare Programme to support the implementation of the Reef 2050 Plan.
The Reef 2050 Plan and the Reef Trust are already addressing key threats to the Reef by improving water quality and coastal habitats, mitigating outbreaks of crown-of-thorns starfish and protecting threatened and migratory species such as dugong and turtles.
It is these projects which will make the Reef more resilient as we address the challenges of climate change and the current coral bleaching event which has affected reefs around the world.
This is part of a projected investment of more than $2 billion from Australian governments to protect the Great Barrier Reef over the next decade.
And just as we’re doing more than ever before to protect the Great Barrier Reef, the Turnbull Government is investing more than ever before in our Antarctic programme.
As announced by the Prime Minister last week, a new era of Antarctic engagement sees the Government investing new funding of $2.167 billion to deliver key priorities under the Australian Antarctic Strategy and 20 Year Action Plan.
This includes ongoing additional funding of $200 million over 10 years from 2016-17, which provides long-term certainty for the Australian Antarctic programme.
With this additional funding and the signing of a contract for a state-of-the art icebreaker, the Government has assured Australia’s ability to lead science and influence responsible management in the region.
It also underpins the role of Tasmania as a leading Antarctic gateway for science and logistics.
Work can now begin to further scope options for year-round aviation access to Antarctica, and the restoration of overland traverse capability and mobile research station infrastructure.
On land, the Turnbull Government is continuing to support the National Landcare Programme to support communities working to improve their local environment and productive landscapes.
Through the National Landcare Programme, the Turnbull Government is meeting its commitment to plant 20 million native trees by 2020 with an additional $20 million, bringing the total investment in the programme to $70 million.
The 20 Million Trees programme is already restoring, rebuilding and reconnecting habitat for our animals and plants across urban, peri-urban and regional Australia. Already funding for 164 projects has been committed to plant more than 13.4 million trees.
In Australia’s waters, the Government will also establish a world-class management programme for Australia’s Commonwealth Marine Reserves – committing $56.1 million over four years to protect Australia’s marine biodiversity.
Commonwealth Marine Reserves remain the gold standard in terms of nation-wide marine conservation and this Government is proud to continue its outstanding track record in marine management.
The funding will provide more opportunities for engagement with recreational fishers, community groups and dive operators, promote local growth in tourism and protect our unique aquatic assets.
Importantly, the measure includes funding to assist affected commercial fishers to adjust to the new management arrangements.
These measures pave the way to make new management plans operational within 12 months. The plans will be based on the recommendations of a major independent review tasked with striking the right balance between environmental, social and economic interests.
These measures – together with the existing suite of policies and programmes to protect and preserve Australia’s air, land, water and heritage – highlight the Turnbull Government’s commitment to work with local communities, business and individuals to keep Australia’s environment robust and healthy.