New projects worth more than $15 million will strengthen protection and management of the Great Barrier Reef under Phase II of the Federal Government’s Reef Trust.
Projects include remediating gullies in grazing landscapes to control erosion, a competitive tender to reduce fertiliser run-off from sugar cane farms in the Burdekin region and a further $7 million to help control the outbreak of coral eating crown-of-thorns starfish on high value reefs.
Last year the Government delivered on a key election commitment to establishing the Reef Trust with an initial injection of $40 million. Just last month the Prime Minister announced an additional injection of $100 million – this brings the total Reef Trust commitment to $140 million.
The Reef Trust invests in important projects with a focus on improving water quality, coastal habitats and the biodiversity of the Great Barrier Reef.
This second phase of Reef Trust projects will help to directly address the greatest threats to the Great Barrier Reef. They will make an important contribution to implementing the Reef 2050 Long-Term Sustainability Plan to protect and manage the Reef for future generations.
We’ve drawn on advice from a range of sources in development of phase two of the Trust investments, including the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority Outlook Report and the Australian Institute of Marine Science.
Future investments will be informed by an Independent Expert Panel chaired by the Commonwealth Chief Scientist, Professor Ian Chubb.
The projects announced today build on the Trust’s initial investment of $15 million.
As part of the first phase of Reef Trust investments, funding of $1.4 million is being provided to farmers over the next three years for improved fertiliser application practices to reduce the runoff of harmful nitrogen into the Reef lagoon.
The projects will result in a significant reduction of nitrogen fertiliser applied to participating farms with the benefits expected to extend well beyond the three-year period, including demonstrating best practice across the industry.
Reducing nitrogen runoff from fertiliser is top priority for the Reef Trust, given its link to crown-of-thorns starfish outbreaks – which we are also directly targeting.
To date, we have culled over 360,000 crown-of-thorns starfish with specialist divers directly targeting each one. The Reef Trust continues to invest in this important work.
We are committed to protecting the Great Barrier Reef for future generations. We know that the reef still retains the values for which it was listed as a World Heritage Property in 1981.
The tourism and agriculture industries are leading the charge locally in protecting our Great Barrier Reef. The Australian Government is proud to be supporting local communities who care for their environment.
Investment in the Great Barrier Reef by the Australian and Queensland governments for protection, management and research is projected to be more than $2 billion over the coming decade.