The Federal Government will make the largest single investment in the protection of the Great Barrier Reef to ensure the iconic natural wonder can be appreciated for generations to come.
Federal Leichhardt MP Warren Entsch said the $500 million investment would protect thousands of jobs, improve water quality, tackle coral-eating crown-of-thorns starfish and implement scientific reef restoration.
He said the announcement was a game-changer in Great Barrier Reef conservation and reinforces the environmental, economic, social and cultural importance of the Great Barrier Reef.
“The World Heritage-listed Great Barrier Reef is the planet’s greatest living wonder and we are extremely fortunate it is in our own backyard,” Mr Entsch said.
“As current custodians, the onus is on us to do everything we can to protect, and maintain, our natural environments such as the Great Barrier Reef.
“I know environmental issues are extremely important to all Far North Queenslanders.
“This is an investment not only in the future of the Great Barrier Reef, but also in Far North Queensland jobs and our local economy as the Reef attracts tourists from all over the world.”
Mr Entsch said the government would partner with the Great Barrier Reef Foundation through a ground-breaking $444 million* agreement to tackle crown-of-thorns starfish, reduce pollution into the Reef and mitigate the impacts of climate change.
He said the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority and the Department of the Environment and Energy would also be boosted with $56 million to expand environmental management and compliance operations on the Reef.
“Like reefs all over the world though, the Great Barrier Reef is under pressure,” he said.
“However, the Reef is remarkably resilient and with the right plan and the right investment, it will overcome these challenges. We are already acknowledged as world-leaders in Reef management.
“This is not just about money. This is about achieving quality and positive outcomes.
“We want to ensure the Reef’s future for the benefit of all Far North Queenslanders, particularly those whose livelihood depends on the Reef.”
“The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority’s future funding has also been secured with an additional $10 million each year from 2022-23 to continue and expand essential work across the World Heritage Area.”
Mr Entsch said the record investment builds on and directly supports the intensive work already underway through the joint $2 billion Australian and Queensland Governments’ Reef 2050 Plan.
Great Barrier Reef Foundation Partnership includes:
• $201 million further improving water quality with changed farming practices such as reduced fertiliser use, and adopting new technologies and land management practices.
• $100 million harnessing the best science to implement reef restoration and funding science that supports Reef resilience and adaptation.
• $58 million expanding the fight against the coral-eating crown-of-thorns starfish.
• $45 million supporting other work, particularly increasing community engagement such as Indigenous traditional knowledge for sea country management, coastal clean-up days and awareness raising activities.
• $40 million enhancing Reef health monitoring and reporting to track progress and inform better management.