The Labor government will give a $204 million boost to the protection and management of the Great Barrier Reef, bringing the total investment in the reef to $1.2 billion (US$751 million).
Environment Minister Tanya Plibersek on Friday unveiled the new package, noting it will go into replanting parts of the reef with new corals, catchment restoration, improving fisheries management and a new research centre.
"We are taking strong and immediate action on climate change and investing a record $1.2 billion to 2030 to protect, manage and restore the reef."
Plibersek said the catchment restoration programs would restore and remediate gully and stream banks to reduce sediment run-off into the reef and improve water quality.
She said the additional funding would also improve water quality by restoring and expanding mangrove and seagrass beds to reduce sediment run-off into the reef and provide critical habitat for marine life.
Meanwhile, $20 million will go into assisting corals in evolving more quickly and adapting to their changing environment, as well as restoring damaged and degraded reefs.
In order to deliver more robust fisheries management and protect threatened species on the reef, the government will work with commercial fishers to reduce by-catch through modifying and upgrading fishing equipment.
Reef Shows Healthy Coral CoverIt comes amid concerns that the Great Barrier Reef is at risk of mass bleaching and deterioration.
However, these concerns have been queried after recent findings show that the Great Barrier Reef saw record high coral cover in 36 years.
“The coral cover is now 2-3 times what it was a decade ago. And what about those four supposedly devastating, unprecedented bleaching events since 2016? They must have been massively exaggerated to now have so much coral.”
Previously, Ridd also raised concerns about the government’s intervention in fishery management in the Great Barrier Reef, warning it would restrict commercial fishing and nitrogen use in the coastal waters.
Ridd argued that the Queensland government’s model to measure the number of fish caught is unreliable.