The federal government will today announce two important new initiatives aimed at protecting our seas and oceans.
Federal Leichhardt MP Warren Entsch welcomed the $5 million commitment to clean up and prevent litter from entering Great Barrier Reef waterways.
“The $5 million project will build on existing efforts to clean up rubbish from beaches and waterways along the Great Barrier Reef coast and prevent the flow of litter from its source,” Mr Entsch said.
“The federal government is determined to protect the reef.
“This is another example of our government’s resolve to invest in the security and safety of this much loved national icon.
“Marine debris – such as plastic bags, bottles and discarded fishing nets – comes from both land and sea sources, and is a significant risk to Reef ecosystems and wildlife.”
Mr Entsch said the Great Barrier Reef is one of the world’s most treasured natural systems and contributes $6.4 billion to the Queensland and Australian economies.
“It is important we keep it free of litter, both for the marine environment itself and for the 64,000 jobs that rely on it,” he said.
“That is why the federal government this year announced more than $500 million for the reef, including our record $443 million partnership with the Great Barrier Reef Foundation.
“The $5 million project will run over the next five years and will build on existing efforts to clean up rubbish from beaches and waterways along the Great Barrier Reef coast and prevent the flow of litter from its source.
Mr Entsch said he was delighted Australia had joined the United Nations Clean Seas Campaign in the fight to rid our oceans of plastic pollution.
“Keeping our oceans clear from pollution is essential for maintaining healthy marine ecosystems,” he said.
“The Clean Seas Campaign is a global campaign which connects government, the private sector and the public to share ideas and experiences, coordinate activities and find innovative solutions to tackle marine litter.
“This is another great step for Australia and a further demonstration of our government’s commitment to the health of our oceans and waterways.
“I am proud that our government is protecting the reef, caring for our waterways and addressing pollution in our oceans.”
- Tangaroa Blue Foundation (a leading not-for-profit organisation dedicated to the removal and prevention of marine debris), in partnership with Conservation Volunteers Australia, will coordinate community clean-up events and other activities to reduce marine debris in the Great Barrier Reef region.
- Tangaroa Blue and Conservation Volunteers Australia will work with Reef-dependent communities, including Traditional Owners, and industries associated with tourism, fishing, farming, manufacturing and shipping to remove and reduce marine litter.
- In 2004 the foundation established the Australian Marine Debris Initiative, which involves more than 1,000 partners and more than 120,000 volunteers and has seen the removal of more than 1,000 tonnes of marine debris from the Australian coastline.
- The project is an investment under Phase VI of the Australian Government’s Reef Trust program.