Sunday, 21 October, 2018

Australia announces $379 million funding for Great Barrier Reef

The package will help develop coral that is more resistant to high temperatures and light stress The package will help develop coral that is more resistant to high temperatures and light stress
| 30 April, 2018, 12:00

Federal Environment Minister Josh Frydenberg insists the government is trying to turn that around.

The reef is a critical national asset, contributing A$6.4 billion (RM19 billion) a year to the Australian economy.

In a further breakdown of the $444 million, $201 million will go into improving water quality, $100 million will go into reef restoration science, $58 million to combat the crown-of-thorns starfish, and $45 million for community management and engagement. The opposition said the government could still fail to reach its target to reduce emissions 26 to 28 per cent on 2005 levels by 2030.

According to Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, the money spent will go towards improving water quality, tackling predators, and expanding restoration efforts.

"They look to Australia to provide the technical expertise the scientific research, and to give the best practice management of coral reefs and that's what we demonstrate", she told reporters on Sunday from Cairns on Australia's east coast.

Unless the coral conservation plan is accompanied by a "strong policy, to slash our carbon pollution, stop the Adani coal mine and rapidly shift Australia to renewable energy, we will not see a future for the reef", said Imogen Zethoven of the Australian Marine Conservation Society, Australia's ABC News reports.

Although some fear that much of the damage can not be undone, John Schubert, chairman of the Great Barrier Reef Foundation, believes that the government's attention gives the reef "real hope".


"To simultaneously promote the world's biggest coal mine [Adani] while pretending to care about the world's largest reef is an acrobatic feat only a cynical politician would attempt".

Australian Conservation Foundation chief Kelly O'Shanassy agreed.

"Like reefs all over the world, the Great Barrier Reef is under pressure". But if temperatures remain high, eventually the coral will die, removing the natural habitat for many species of marine life.

He said the government would work with traditional Aboriginal owners, the tourist industry, farmers and scientists, to save the reef, calling the commitment "a game-changer".

The 2016 bleaching event, the worst on record, mainly affected the north of the reef, while the recent damage has mostly impacted the middle sections, according to scientists at the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies.

The reef has lost up to half its coral cover in the past 30 years, due to bleaching and pollution.

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