Australia pledges millions of dollars in bid to rescue Great Barrier Reef

Australia pledges millions of dollars in bid to rescue Great Barrier Reef

Australia pledges millions of dollars in bid to rescue Great Barrier Reef

The Federal Government will allocate $500 million to help deal with the problems facing the Great Barrier Reef.

The funding includes measures to improve water quality by encouraging better farming practices, scientific research towards reef restoration and building more resilient coral by tackling the coral-eating corn of thorns starfish. The $100 million will be used for reef restoration science, $45 million will be set aside for community engagement, $58 million will be allotted for combatting crown-of-thorn starfish, and $40 million dollars will be spent for monitoring the health of the reef system.

The efforts will be Australia's single biggest environmental protection package and will be further detailed and officially confirmed in next month's budget.

The World Heritage-listed site, which attracts millions of tourists, is reeling from bouts of coral bleaching due to warming sea temperatures linked to climate change.

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".

Jon Brodie, a professor at James Cook University's Coral Reef Studies Centre of Excellence said the funding was an extension of existing failed programs.

"You can not protect the reef from puddles of warm water sitting over the entire northern GBR, together with all of the cyclones that came at the same time which were also climate-related".

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Environment Minister Josh Frydenberg said the reef was under a lot of pressure but those challenges could be overcome.

"We must improve water quality".

But the cash splash has been met with criticism from conservationists who have accused the government of not doing enough to address the thing that poses the biggest threat to the reef, climate change.

Critics seized on Australia's continued subsidized development of gas and coal, especially its openness to the Adani coal mine in northern Australia that would be among the world's largest, pushing coal on boats running near the reef. We must ensure our reef managers and scientists are better equipped to manage and monitor our reefs, working smarter than ever before...

The government, in a partnership with the Great Barrier Reef Foundation, will contribute $444 million.

"Today's major investment brings real solutions within our grasp", he said.

It builds on the joint $2 billion Australian and Queensland Reef 2050 plan.

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