Australia invests AUD100 million to save the Great Barrier Reef

Summary

Last week, Prime Minister of Australia Tony Abbott unveiled a new plan to protect the Great Barrier Reef,one of the most fragile ecosystems in the world and a site of remarkable variety on the north-east coast of Australia. It contains the world’s largest collection of coral reefs, with 400 types of coral, 1,600 species of fish and 4,000 types of mollusc.

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Last year, the Coalition delivered on its commitment to establish a AUD*40 million Reef Trust which has already funded important work to protect the Great Barrier Reef. To support the Reef 2050 Long-Term Sustainability Plan, the Australian Government added AUD100 million in funding for the Reef Trust, on 21 March 2015.

Without strong conservation action, the Great Barrier Reef will lose more coral and biodiversity.

 ‘It will be used to tackle key challenges facing the Reef, in particular projects to improve water quality. This will now lift the Reef Trust to AUD140 million in value, with the overall investment by governments in the Reef exceeding AUD2 billion over the next decade,’ said Prime Minister Tony Abbott. The health of the Great Barrier is a big issue for Australia and neighbouring countries. Without strong conservation action, the Great Barrier Reef will lose more coral and biodiversity. The Great Barrier Reef is a precious part of the earth’s ecosystem.

In addition to its value for the planet, the Reef creates revenue in Australia

On its website, the Australian Greens political party said that ‘the Reef adds AUD6 billion to the Australian economy each year through tourism and fisheries, and the more than 63,000 sustainable jobs the Reef supports in Queensland’s coastal communities’. On 21 March, Prime Minister Tony Abbott said, ‘there are already positive signs. The quality of water entering the Reef is improving. We have achieved reductions of 11 per cent in sediment, more than 10 per cent in nitrogen, 28 per cent in pesticides and a 16 per cent reduction in dissolved inorganic nitrogen running into the Reef lagoon.’

The Reef 2050 Long-Term Sustainability Plan has been set up to protect and manage the Great Barrier Reef from 2015 to 2050

. In November 2014, the head of UNESCO said the Australian government had started to listen its alarm call about Great Barrier Reef. The plan and the additional AUD100 million in funding for the Reef Trust are key components of the Australian Government’s response to the UNESCO World Heritage Committee’s recommendations.

Photos © Brian Kinney

 *AUD: australian dollar (1AUD= 76 US$ on April 2, 2015)