Over the past few years, the reef has suffered devastating damage through mass coral bleaching and a combination of cyclones and crown-of-thorn starfish (Acanthaster planci). This new funding will cover four primary objectives, particularly focussing on soil erosion and damage from species.
The Great Barrier Reef is located in the Coral Sea off Queensland’s eastern coast, and is regarded as the largest living structure on the planet. It covers almost 350,000 square kilometres. The funding announcement comes on the back of the government’s commitment to spend $2 billion on the conservation of the reef over the next ten years, and will cover the following areas:
- $36m on farmers, to help with the offsetting of erosion and restore vegetation
- $10m to eradicate crown-of-thorns starfish through culling
- $6m for scientific groups to develop coral resilience to bleaching and other issues
- $4m to employ a larger conservation workforce to communicate warnings around bleaching events
The reef is worth almost $7 billion to the Australian economy every year – a good example of where conservation and economics go hand in hand.
However, the Minister for Environment and the Great Barrier Reef for the Queensland Government, Leeanne Enoch, said the approach from the Federal parties was welcome, but needed to be collaborative:
“We know how valuable the Great Barrier Reef is to Queenslanders, our tourism industry, and people right around the world. That’s why the Palaszczuk Government is committed to protecting this iconic natural wonder by improving the overall health of the reef,” Ms Enoch said.
“We’re investing more than $256 million over the next five years to improve reef water quality in a bid to make the reef more resilient in the face of stressors to the underwater ecosystem, including crown-of-thorns starfish outbreaks.”
To learn more about the Great Barrier Reef and how you can help, visit the Australian Marine Conservation Society’s website here.