The Great Barrier Reef Foundation has identified $111 million in spending under the landmark Reef Trust Partnership over the next financial year that will help keep Australia on track to meet its 2025 Reef water quality improvement targets and drive forward the world’s largest scientific collaboration to help coral reefs adapt to changing ocean temperatures.
The 2021-22 annual work plan represents a critical plank in the Australian and Queensland Government’s $3 billion commitment to the Reef and underlines the importance of the Commonwealth’s $443.3 million investment in the Partnership.
Federal Environment Minister Sussan Ley said over the next financial year, the Reef Trust Partnership will direct $45.35 million towards water quality improvements, $31.13 million for coral restoration and adaptation and $8.7 million to control coral-eating Crown-of-Thorns-Starfish outbreaks.
“These programs are delivering on the Reef 2050 Plan and complement further investments made by the Commonwealth and Queensland Governments,” Ms Ley said.
“They are delivering tangible outcomes for the Reef and the communities who depend on it.
“The accelerated action on water quality by the Australian and Queensland Governments means that we are on track to meet our 2025 Reef water quality improvement targets.
“The $31.13 million being invested in the Reef Restoration and Adaptation Program through the Foundation will advance new technologies such as heat resistant corals to help adapt to climate change.”
By 2024, the Reef Trust Partnership investments in water quality will see an annual reduction in the amount of fine suspended sediment entering the Reef each year of 462 kilotonnes, with a 456 tonne reduction in dissolved inorganic nitrogen and a 250 kilogram reduction in pesticides.
The Reef Restoration and Adaptation Program will deliver a toolbox of scientifically proven, ecologically effective and economically viable restoration and adaptation techniques for implementation in Australia and around the world.
Special Envoy for the Great Barrier Reef and Leichhardt MP Warren Entsch said that the 2021-22 work plan highlighted the practical, science-based actions being taken to protect the Reef.
“We have the best reef managers in the world and we have the most spectacular Reef on the planet,” Mr Entsch said.
“Local communities, Traditional Owners, marine scientists, tourism operators and farmers are working together to protect the Reef and this work plan is a key part of that process.”
Great Barrier Reef Foundation managing director Anna Marsden said that in 2021-22 the Reef Trust Partnership will continue to fund the largest scale on-ground intervention program on the Great Barrier Reef aimed at directly protecting coral – the Crown-Of-Thorns starfish control program – as well as work to improve the prediction, detection and response to outbreaks.
“Under the Reef Trust Partnership there has been a groundswell of support from the people who live and work on and near the Reef, with 1,200 farmers helping to improve water quality, 24,000 community members engaged in delivering Reef protection activities, 120 scientists and engineers working on the world’s largest coral reef restoration and adaptation program, 32 Traditional Owner groups caring for Land and Sea Country and more 100 marine vessel and tourism staff on the frontline helping protect coral from coral-eating starfish,” Ms Marsden said.
“2021-22 will see the implementation of projects that bring together over 135 community groups working along the length of the Great Barrier Reef with a shared ambition to deliver a brighter future for their reef.”
At the half-way point of the Partnership, $432 million has been committed, representing $275 million of the government grant and $157 million leveraged through corporate and project partners and philanthropy.
This investment is helping to deliver outcomes for the Reef and providing much needed economic support to regional communities in Queensland that have been hit hard by the economic impacts of COVID‑19.
To read the 2020/21 Annual Work Plan visit www.barrierreef.org/what-we-do/reef-trust-partnership/reef-trust-partnership-plans-and-strategies