The Federal Opposition has announced that a future Labor Government will act to protect the Great Barrier Reef, and the 70,000 jobs it supports, from the disastrous effects of climate change and other threats.
Labor’s policy will see the implementation of an action plan to address the issues facing Australia’s greatest natural asset by boosting Reef management resources, ramping up scientific monitoring and research and new investment in improving water quality and land management.
The Great Barrier Reef, which is the largest coral reef ecosystem on earth and one of the best known marine areas in the world, has been described by many scientists as being under serious threat from the effects of global warming.
Since 1985, for example, there has been a 50 per cent loss in hard coral cover across the Reef.
Not only is the Reef under pressure from climate change, but also from poor water quality, coastal development, extreme weather events, including freshwater inundation, ocean acidification and outbreaks of Crown of Thorns starfish.
Labor believes that due to these factors, the Great Barrier Reef Plan – a long-term, coordinated and resourced strategy – will help protect the future of the Reef. The Plan will be supported by a fund of $500 million over five years, including $377 million of new investment.
Labor will also work with the Queensland Government and other stakeholders to implement the recommendations of the Great Barrier Reef Water Science Taskforce report.
According to the Federal Opposition, its plan to protect this delicate ecosystem has three pillars covering research, management, investment and preservation:
- Science and Research: Improve science and research and monitoring of Reef issues to ensure the protection and sustainability of the Reef is based on the latest, specialised science. This includes directing the CSIRO Marine to conduct Reef-specific science, including climate research, supported by a $50 million targeted funding boost.
- Direct Environmental Investment: Integrated direct investment to improve, water quality, land management, agricultural and environmental impacts.
- Reef Management: Improve Reef management architecture and incentives to fix the fragmented and uncoordinated approach that has for too long characterised Reef management and conservation.
For more information about Labor’s Great Barrier Reef Plan, please visit: www.100positivepolicies.org.au/great_barrier_reef_plan_fact_sheet