Coalition to deliver $1 billion boost to protect Great Barrier Reef

June 13, 2016
Ministerial Feed
Media Releases

A re-elected Turnbull Coalition Government will protect the Great Barrier Reef by tackling its two biggest challenges – climate change and water quality.

The Turnbull Government will deliver a $1 billion Reef Fund as part of a comprehensive Plan to Protect the Great Barrier Reef.

Australia’s World Heritage-listed Great Barrier Reef is Australia’s most treasured natural landmark and it supports nearly 70,000 jobs.

The Turnbull Government’s Plan to Protect the Great Barrier Reef stands in stark contrast to Labor’s record of mismanagement.

When Labor left office, five massive dredge disposal projects were planned in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park and the Reef was on the World Heritage Committee’s watch list to be ‘in-danger’.

The Coalition took unprecedented action to end all five dredge disposal plans and put in place a ban on future capital dredge disposal projects in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park.

As a result the World Heritage Committee removed Australia from the ‘in-danger’ watch list and praised Australia as a global leader in reef management.

The new Reef Fund will be administered by the Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC) through its $10 billion special account, leveraging the CEFC’s track record of innovative, flexible and concessional financial products and its relationships with the finance community.

The Reef Fund will build on $461 million in Reef funding already committed since the Coalition came into office.

And it will add to projected investments of more than $2 billion from Australian governments to protect the Reef over the next decade. 

The Reef Fund will provide up to $1 billion over 10 years in investment finance for projects in the Reef catchment region that deliver clean energy, reduce emissions and improve water quality.

It will support clean energy projects that reduce runoff of pollutants, fertiliser and sediment.

And it will support the installation of more energy and water efficient irrigation systems, pesticide sprayers and fertiliser application systems.

The Fund will also help coastal sewage treatment plants to reduce ocean outfalls with efficient pumps, biogas electricity generation and next generation waste water treatment.

Improving water quality will enhance the Reef’s resilience to climate change, coral bleaching and outbreaks of the destructive crown of thorns starfish.

Climate change is the greatest long-term threat to the Great Barrier Reef and to all coral reefs around the world.

Australia is playing its part in the global climate change effort through signing the Paris Agreement and implementing policies to reduce Australia’s emissions.

The Reef Fund will support clean energy projects in the Reef catchment.

It will finance solar panels and other renewable energy substitutes on farms as well as more energy efficient equipment in agriculture, local government and tourism.

The $1 billion Reef Fund builds on the Coalition’s existing policies, including the landmark Reef 2050 Long Term Sustainability Plan as well as the innovative Reef Trust which is improving water quality and fighting the coral-eating crown of thorns starfish.

A re-elected Turnbull Government’s Plan to Protect the Great Barrier Reef will also invest: 

  • $40 million to tackle water quality under the Phase Four of the Reef Trust through nitrogen and fertiliser trials and tackling gully erosion.
  • $6 million to acquire a new Southern Reef Ranger to tackle crown of thorns starfish and police illegal fishing on the Reef. 
  • $400,000 for emerging science and community partnerships through the Independent Expert Panel of scientists and the Regional Advisory Committees supporting the Reef Trust.
  • $300,000 for compliance vessels to support the Yarrabah community as they implement their Traditional Use Marine Resource Agreement.

Australians are passionate about the Great Barrier Reef and the Turnbull Government is committed to protecting it for future generations.

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