Australia

Australia Government Announces Billion-Dollar Reward to Protect Great Barrier Reef


The Great Barrier Reef has lost more than half of its coral over three decades with marine heatwaves triggering three major bleaching events in the past five years.

Australia Prime Minister Scott Morrison has announced a further one billion Australian dollars ($703m) to protect the Great Barrier Reef and support thousands of tourism jobs, just months before a federal election.

The reef, one of Australia’s best-known natural attractions is under threat from global warming and has been a lightning rod for criticism of the ruling conservative coalition’s support for fossil fuels.

Morrison, already under pressure over his handling of the country’s worst COVID-19 outbreak fuelled by the Omicron variant, said on Friday that the investment will help protect about 64,000 jobs in Queensland that depend on the reef.

The northeastern state will be a major battleground when Morrison goes to the polls by May, seeking a fourth consecutive term for his party. His conservative coalition currently holds 23 of the state’s 30 lower house seats in Parliament.

“We are backing the health of the reef and the economic future of tourism operators, hospitality providers, and Queensland communities that are at the heart of the reef economy,” he said in a statement.

“We are backing the health of the reef and the economic future of tourism operators, hospitality providers, and Queensland communities that are at the heart of the reef economy,” he said in a statement.

More than half of the new funds will be used to improve water quality by preventing land erosion and limiting nutrient and pesticides runoff from farms. The rest will be used to target invasive species and for monitoring systems.

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