Published: Mon, April 30, 2018
Research | By Sheri Schwartz

Australia to invest millions in Great Barrier Reef restoration and protection

Australia to invest millions in Great Barrier Reef restoration and protection

"We'll be improving the monitoring of the reef's health and the measurement of its impacts", Environment Minister Josh Frydenberg said at the plan's announcement on Sunday.

The funding includes measures to improve water quality by encouraging better farming practices, scientific research towards reef restoration and building more resilient coral by tackling the coral-eating corn of thorns starfish.

Canberra insists it is taking strong action to address the global threat of climate change, having set an ambitious target to reduce emissions by 26% to 28% from 2005 levels by 2030.

"We must improve water quality".

Foreign Minister Julie Bishop said regional countries looked to Australia's example as a world leader in reef management, as the government's 2050 Plan was approved by the World Heritage Committee as being a standard for the rest of the world to follow.

"The more we understand about the reef, the better we can protect it", Frydenberg was quoted as saying by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

Image: Bleached coral is photographed on Australia's Great Barrier Reef near Port Douglas, February 20, 2017 in this handout image from Greenpeace.

"Science is well aware of what is killing coral on the Great Barrier Reef - it's the excess heat that comes from burning fossil fuels", he told The New York Times.

The reef is the world's largest living structure and it can even be seen from space.

UNESCO considered putting it on the "in danger" list past year due to recent widespread destruction but voted against it, allowing Australia's conservative government to dodge political embarrassment and potential damage to the country's tourism industry.

A serious outbreak of crown-of-thorns starfish — which might develop to 13in and have as much as 21 arms — is destroying the reef. "You can't have both", Ms Casule said in a Greenpeace statement on Sunday. The reef has lost a large percentage of its coral in recent decades due to a variety of environmental stresses.

He said the government would work with traditional Aboriginal owners, the tourist industry, farmers and scientists, to save the reef, calling the commitment "a game-changer".

Coral bleaching has devastated Australia's Great Barrier Reef.

Earlier this month, scientists said the site suffered a "catastrophic die-off" of coral during an extended heatwave in 2016, threatening a broader range of reef life than previously feared.

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