Australia Pledges $379m To Save Great Barrier Reef

Critics seized on Australia's 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.

The announcement will be detailed when the Budget is handed down next week.

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

A major outbreak of coral-eating crown-of-thorns starfish has been destroying areas of the world heritage listed reef, prompting a major cull in January.

"Science is well aware of what is killing coral on the Great Barrier Reef - it's the excess heat that comes from burning fossil fuels", said Bill McKibben, an American environmentalist, author and founder of 350.org, which aims to rapidly end the use of fossil fuels. Crown-of-thorns starfish were responsible for nearly half of this decline. It's also home to thousands of plants and animals. "And we must unlock new scientific insights that can help restore the reefs that have suffered damage".

"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".

"Today's investment brings real hope to the Great Barrier Reef", Dr Schubert said. "A big challenge demands a big investment -- and this investment gives our reef the best chance".

Frydenberg also stressed the importance of the reef to the Australian economy.

A report published earlier this month showed that almost a third of coral in the 2,300-kilometer-long (1,430-mile) reef system died during a nine-month period in 2016 following an extended heatwave.

A further $56 million will bolster the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority and Department of Environment and Energy to expand management and compliance operations.

The bulk of the new funding - just over $151 million - was earmarked to improve water quality by changing farming practices and adopting new technologies and land management. It builds on the joint $2 billion Australian and Queensland Reef 2050 plan.

  • Joe Gonzales