The Australian and Queensland governments today reaffirmed their commitment to work in partnership on Reef management and continue the collaborative efforts with investors, industry, science, Traditional Owners, regional and conservation organisations and the broader community to improve the health of the Reef.
Speaking at the 41st meeting of the Great Barrier Reef Ministerial Forum in Melbourne, the Federal Minister for the Environment, Greg Hunt, said the Reef 2050 Plan was founded on a strong partnership and implementing it would require a continued commitment from all sectors and levels
“We are all part of the solution and it is vital we work together,” Minister Hunt said.
“I’m proud of the progress we’ve made so far in implementing the Reef 2050 Plan and this is in no small part due to all sectors working together under a unified plan.”
“To give ourselves the best chance of helping improve the health of the Reef we must explore ways to diversify funding and invite further investment from other areas of the community,” Minister Hunt said.
The Australian and Queensland governments have kick-started work in this area with today’s
release of the Reef Trust’s Partnerships for the Reef publication.
Through Partnerships for the Reef, the Reef Trust is inviting the corporate sector, investors, philanthropic organisations and individuals to work in partnership with the Australian and Queensland governments on practical on ground projects that will directly help improve the health
of the Reef.
“We are also encouraging organisations to come up with their own ideas and innovative projects and talk about how we might co-fund some of those ideas that will make a big difference to the Reef through Reef Trust,” Minister Hunt said.
“The innovation, goodwill and commitment of the industry, private sector and philanthropy all have a key role to play.”
“This will build on investment by government, including the recently announced third phase of
Reef Trust which will provide $58 million of Australian Government funding for improving water quality and coastal habitat.”
The Forum also acknowledged the significant work of the key Reef 2050 Plan advisory bodies. Professor Ian Chubb AC, the Hon. Penelope Wensley AC and Dr Geoff Garrett AO attended the forum and provided updates about the contributions made by their respective advisory groups including the Independent Expert Panel, the Reef 2050 Advisory Committee and the Queensland Government’s Great Barrier Reef Water Science Taskforce. They all noted the positive progress to date, but that more work was still needed.
Queensland Minister for Environment and Heritage Protection and Minister for National Parks and the Great Barrier Reef, Dr Steven Miles, said momentum was building under the Reef 2050 Plan which was only endorsed in March 2015.
“The Reef may be in our backyard in Queensland but I know it is important to all Australians and
we have a better chance of improving its health if we work together,” Dr Miles said.
“We have already passed world class legislation and regulation to reduce the impacts of ports and dredging on the Reef,” Dr Miles said.
“We have also established three net free fishing zones in Cairns, Mackay and Keppel Bay and our Great Barrier Reef Water Science Taskforce yesterday released their interim report into how we can best progress towards achieving the ambitious water quality targets in the Plan.”
The Forum endorsed and released the second edition of the Reef 2050 Plan Implementation
Strategy which outlines immediate priority actions for implementation.
The focus for implementation in 2016 will be on five key areas:
• Furthering the sustainability of ports through better strategic planning.
• Engaging with Traditional Owners.
• Continuing the work to improve water quality through the Reef Water Quality Protection Plan and the Reef Trust.
• Developing an investment framework to deliver the Reef 2050 Plan.
• Developing an integrated monitoring and reporting framework to improve monitoring of social, economic and environmental outcomes at the Reef.
Partnerships for the Reef and further information on the Reef Trust can be found at www.environment.gov.au/marine/gbr/reef-trust
The Reef 2050 Plan Implementation Strategy – Edition 2, and more information about the Reef 2050 Plan can be found at: www.environment.gov.au/reef2050
The Great Barrier Reef Water Science Taskforce Interim Report is open for consultation until 22 February 2016 and can be found at www.gbr.qld.gov.au