Anthony Albanese has pledged nearly $200 million over the next three years in additional funding for the Great Barrier Reef, vowing to work with farmers to stop fertilizer runoff polluting the natural landmark and protect turtles, dugongs and dolphins from the plastic.
Less than a week after a new report revealed that rising ocean temperatures had triggered the sixth mass bleaching event in the world’s largest coral ecosystem, Albanese promises to deliver new restoration programs that would bring full investment to the Great Barrier Reef to $1.2 billion by 2030.
He said he would handle it differently from Scott Morrison by working in partnership with the Queensland government, First Nations people and businesses.
Queensland Labor Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk is using the ad to criticize the Coalition.
“The Morrison government’s approach to protecting the reef and the jobs that depend on it has been disappointing,” he said.
“It is clear that Anthony Albanese will work in real partnership with our government, landowners, experts, industry, traditional owners and reef communities.”
Additional funding would include $85 million over future estimates for off-the-shelf reef and watershed restoration projects.
The workforce would also double funding from the Reef 250 Plan, which was last updated in December of last year, for an additional $94.5 million.
A one-time grant of $15 million would also go to CQ University’s Coastal and Marine Ecosystems Research Center at Gladstone to boost research.
“Seeing the wonder of the Great Barrier Reef is a highlight for many Australians,” Albanese said.
“But parents and grandparents are worried that their children won’t be able to see this amazing natural wonder for themselves.
“That’s why it’s so important that we act on climate change and species protection, to protect the reef and the tens of thousands of jobs that depend on it.”
Labor also say they want to work with farmers on more efficient use of fertiliser, fencing off paddocks and installing real-time water quality sensors to reduce pollution on the reef.
Protecting turtles, dugongs and dolphins from plastic pollution and illegal poaching is another promise.
Albanese says that they would have indigenous rangers involved in preserving the reef.
Their commitment comes after the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority’s annual snapshot detailed how more than 90 percent of the coral reefs studied suffered some form of bleaching.
It is the first massive bleaching event to occur under La Niña conditions.
Labor will also announce a $224.5 million program to save koalas, now officially listed as endangered in many areas.