Australia pledges $500 mil to restore Great Barrier Reef
29 April, 2018, 21:40 | Author: Patty Aguilar
Australia will invest AU$500 million ($379 million) to protect the Great Barrier Reef, a minister said on Sunday.
UNESCO considered putting it on the "in danger" list previous year due to recent widespread destruction but voted against it, allowing Australia's conservative government to dodge political embarrassment and potential damage to the country's tourism industry.
The announcement comes just weeks after a study, published in Nature journal, found 29 per cent of reefs lost two-thirds or more of their corals in a "catastrophic" marine heatwave in 2016.
The statement said: "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".
Some of the money will be used to help farmers near the reef change the way they do things.
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull will on Sunday commit $201 million to changing farming practices to improve water quality, $100 million for reef restoration research and $58 million to fight coral-eating crown-of-thorns starfish linked to agricultural ocean run-offs.
Greenpeace Australia Pacific Climate and Energy Campaigner, Nikola Casule, said the Reef's destruction could be pinned on fossil fuels.
Investigations showed that two successive heat waves killed almost half of the corals in the most pristine part of the Great Barrier Reef.
"To simultaneously promote the world's biggest coal mine (Adani) while pretending to care about the world's largest reef is an acrobatic feat only a cynical politician would attempt". "Climate change is the number one threat to the Great Barrier Reef and only concerted action to cut pollution will fully protect it".
More details of the package will be detailed in the federal budget in May.
"This is the single largest investment in reef restoration and management in Australia's history, " Environment Minister Josh Frydenberg said. "And we must unlock new scientific insights that can help restore the reefs that have suffered damage", Dr Schubert said.
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