Climate Action

Australia pledges largest single investment to protect Great Barrier Reef

The Australian Government announced yesterday a record level of investment into saving the Great Barrier Reef from environmental damage.

  • 30 April 2018
  • Adam Wentworth

The Australian Government announced yesterday a record level of investment into saving the Great Barrier Reef from environmental damage.

The A$500 million (US$379 million) package of funding will try and save the reef from a barrage of environmental impacts which have put its long-term viability at serious risk.

In the past two years alone, coral bleaching has caused an estimated 50 percent of the entire reef to die-off. Bleaching primarily occurs due to changes in ocean temperature and water pollution.

In response, the Government has partnered with the Great Barrier Reef Foundation, which will receive the bulk of the funding, to implement a range of projects designed to tackle the problem.

Prime Minister Malcom Turnbull’s office, along with the ministers for foreign affairs, energy and environment, released a joint statement, commenting: “we want to ensure the Reef’s future for the benefit of all Australians, particularly those whose livelihood depends on the Reef…It is an investment not only in the future of the Great Barrier Reef, but also in Australian jobs and our economy through the tourists the Reef attracts every year.”

$201 million will go into changing farming practices to prevent water pollution from run-off; $100 will support new scientific projects to restore the reef and make it more resilient; a further $40 million will improve reef monitoring and track it health.

The latest investment builds on a previous commitment in January to support research and conservation programmes on the reef.

“Like reefs all over the world, the Great Barrier Reef is under pressure…This unprecedented investment reinforces the environmental, economic, social and cultural importance of the Great Barrier Reef, and that there is a role for everyone in protecting it for generations to come,” they added.

It remains to be seen if this funding can stop the unprecedented damage caused to the World Heritage Site.

Greenpeace’s CEO for the Australia Pacific region said the investment did nothing to tackle the impacts of climate change at the source. He commented on Twitter that “you cannot ‘rescue’ the Great Barrier Reef without cutting carbon emissions. That means no new coal, oil or gas. Turnbull knows this. They all know it.”