Today, the Federal Government announced an additional $1 billion towards improving water quality, reef management and research for the Great Barrier Reef.

More than half of the funding will go towards improving water quality through improving land condition and reducing sediment, nutrient and pesticide run-off, with substantial funds also for Crown of Thorns control, reef management and research.

Capricorn Conservation Council climate campaigner, Dr Coral Rowston, has welcomed the additional funding for the reef, but is disappointed that the number one threat to the Reef – Climate Change – has once again has not been prioritised or addressed.

“Our oceans are rapidly heating up and the outlook for the Great Barrier Reef, is grim.  The Great Barrier Reef has been hit by three marine heatwaves within five years that resulted in mass coral bleaching and mortality – and that is while we are sitting at 1.2 degrees of global warming.  The scientists tell us that we are likely to hit more than 2 degrees, which will be fatal for 99% of all coral reefs.

“We need to do more to cut emissions now, or the Reef will face more severe marine heatwaves, more often, and will have no time to recover,” said Dr Rowston.

The funding package includes $92.7 million to research and deploy world leading reef resilience science and climate adaptation strategies, but this is not addressing climate change. 

“To give our Reef the best chance for the future, we need to rapidly phase out all coal, oil and gas. Yet this government is choosing to approve new coal and gas facilities.

“The government has made a public commitment on reaching net zero, but it’s not backed by the necessary action. This government’s own modelling shows Australia won’t reach net zero until well after this century – much too late for protecting the Reef,” Dr Rowston said.

28 January 2022