Estimated reading time 2 minutes 2 Min

New funding to ‘turn around’ reef health

The Albanese government has outlined $1.2 billion of funding for the Great Barrier Reef ahead of the federal budget.

Budget22 Reef Environment minister Tanya Plibersek says the funding will ensure the Reef thrives into the future.
October 21, 2022
By Andrew Brown
21 October 2022

Environment Minister Tanya Plibersek hopes new funding measures for the Great Barrier Reef will turn around the health of the natural wonder.

The government has announced $1.2 billion will be spent on the reef in the upcoming budget.

The previous coalition government had pledged to spend $1 billion on the reef, but Labor has committed to an extra $200 million.

The additional funds will help to address gaps in long-term sustainability plans and speed up protection activities.

Ms Plibersek said while cooler weather in the area had given the reef breathing space, more work was needed to be done to protect it.

“These measures can start to turn around the health of the reef, it is still a beautiful natural wonder of the world,” she told ABC Radio on Friday.

Ms Plibersek said while Labor had agreed with the previous funding commitment by the coalition, it was not enough to properly protect the reef.

Some of the funding will go towards measures like restoration projects for seagrass, fishery management and new reef vessels.

“If we protect the reef, we protect our future. This new investment will bring forward actions that have been long overdue,” she said.

“This funding will ensure our reef’s health improves and thrives into the future.”

The minister said stronger action was needed on climate change to be able to ensure the reef’s protection, with rising sea temperatures a major threat to the ecosystem.

She said reaching net-zero emissions was crucial to achieving it.

The government previously legislated to enshrine net-zero emissions by 2050, along with a 43 per cent reduction in emissions by 2030.

“What we have to do as a nation is have a strong, credible pathway to net-zero emissions and work to get there in a way that also benefits nature wherever we can,” she said.

“We all know that climate change is one of the greatest threats to the reef along with water quality.”

Australian Conservation Foundation chief Kelly O’Shanassy said the money was welcome, after environment spending had been slashed by 40 per cent over the decade.

But support for new gas projects undermined the government’s efforts, she said.

“It would make no sense at all if the federal budget also includes money to support the growth of fossil fuels, which are driving climate change and inflicting repeated bleaching events on the reef’s corals.”

More in Top Stories