$60 Million Rescue Package for The Great Barrier Reef

22nd February 2019


The Australian government has announced a $60 million rescue grant to the Great Barrier Reef in hope to improve coral and marine life.

After three years of consecutive coral bleaching and rising water temperatures, the reef has suffered significantly.

If change is not made soon, Australia's world renowned UNESCO World Heritage Site could disappear completely.

Tourism to the Great Barrier Reef generates approximately $5 billion each year. Bringing over two million people annually to the reef and surrounding areas, tourism is extremely important to the region.

The $60 million package will include a grant to develop resilient coral, as well as increase the number of reef officers and vessels to target deadly crown of thorn starfish. Furthermore, $36.6 million will be spent on helping farmers reduce runoff and pollution.

Prime Minister Malcom Turnbull stated there is a strong connection between water pollution and crown of thorns starfish outbreaks.

"The techniques are basically to build swales and ditches and, you know, plantings to slow down the runoff, so that all of the fertilisers and nutrients don't get into the river and therefore into the reef," Mr Turnbull said.

While the government believe the generous grant will provide solutions. Greenpeace Australia Pacific is not convinced.

Greenpeace Climate and energy campaigner, Dr Nikola Casule described the grant for farmers as "tinkering around the edges".

"Coal-fuelled climate change is killing the reef, but instead of phasing out fossil fuels and pulling support for Adani's Carmichael mine, the PM and Josh Frydenberg are again just dealing with symptoms of the problem," Dr Casule said.

"The reef is now in the early stages of an unprecedented third consecutive year of bleaching. The reef bleached in 2016 and 2017 and the Turnbull government did nothing. The science is clear: dangerous global warming is the biggest threat to the reef."