A re-elected Turnbull Government will deliver a $1 billion boost to protect the Great Barrier Reef by tackling the challenges which are having the greatest impact on reef health.
A new $1 billion Reef Fund announced today is part of the Coalition’s comprehensive Plan to Protect the Great Barrier Reef, which builds on $461 million in Reef funding already committed since the Coalition came into office.
“The World Heritage listed Great Barrier Reef is Australia’s most treasured natural landmark and supports nearly 70,000 jobs,” Minister Hunt said.
“The new $1 billion Reef Fund builds on the projected investment of more than $2 billion from Australian governments to protect the Great Barrier Reef over the next decade.”
“The Reef Fund will provide up to $1 billion over 10 years in investment finance for projects in the Reef catchment region that deliver clean energy, reduce emissions and improve water quality.”
Federal Member for Dawson, George Christensen, said finding innovative new ways to strengthen the health of the Reef was a priority for the Coalition.
“We will make the Great Barrier Reef even greater with this $1 billion Reef Fund which will drive water quality improvement and support job-creating renewable energy projects along the Great Barrier Reef coastline,” Mr Christensen said.
“Water quality is a major issue for the Great Barrier Reef and there are a number of initiatives which could not only protect the reef but also allow coastal communities to operate more efficiently.”
“Whitsunday Regional Council for instance would be able to take advantage of this Reef Fund by accessing low cost loans to finance a waste-water recycling plant for the Whitsundays.”
“This could stop nutrient outflows onto the reef, and instead direct treated waste water onto local farms.”
The $1 billion Reef Fund builds on the Coalition’s 2013 election commitment to create an innovative Reef Trust to improve water quality and fight crown of thorns starfish.
A re elected Turnbull Government’s Plan to Protect the Great Barrier Reef will also invest:
• $40 million to tackle water quality under the Phase Four of the Reef Trust through nitrogen and fertiliser trials and tackling gully erosion.
• $6 million to acquire a new Southern Reef ranger to tackle crown of thorns starfish and police illegal fishing on the Reef.
• $400,000 for emerging science and community partnerships through the Independent Expert Panel of scientists and the Regional Advisory Committees supporting the Reef Trust.
“This latest $40 million investment in water quality under the Reef Trust will work with farmers and landholders to trial efficient nitrogen and fertiliser practices, as well as target nutrient and sediment run-off from gully and stream bank erosion,” Mr Christensen said.
Investments under the Reef Trust are overseen by the Independent Expert Panel, chaired by the former Commonwealth Chief Scientist, Professor Ian Chubb.
“A new ‘Southern Reef Ranger’ would provide a third platform for crown of thorns starfish eradication and ensure better policing of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park including against illegal fishing, with a focus on the mid-to-southern areas of the Reef,” Mr Christensen said.
The Turnbull Government’s comprehensive Plan to Protect the Great Barrier Reef stands in stark contrast to Labor’s record of mismanagement.
When Labor left office, the Great Barrier Reef was on the World Heritage Committee’s watch list to be ‘in-danger’ and five massive dredge disposal projects were planned in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park.
The Coalition took unprecedented action to end all five dredge disposal plans and put in place a ban under law on future capital dredge disposal projects in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park.
As a result the World Heritage Committee removed Australia from the ‘in-danger’ watch list and praised Australia as a global leader in reef management.
Australians are passionate about the Great Barrier Reef and the Turnbull Government is committed to protecting it for future generations.