The Australian Conservation Foundation (ACF) has welcomed $204 million in new funding for Great Barrier Reef recovery, including ‘blue carbon’ projects to restore mangroves and seagrass meadows.
Environment Minister Tanya Plibersek has announced funding for catchment restoration to reduce sediment run-off, projects to protect coastal ecosystems adjacent to the reef and local investment in a research hub in Gladstone.
“Mangroves, tidal marshes and seagrass meadows are filters for water that flows to the reef and they are important breeding and feeding habitats for fish, birds, turtles and other marine life,” said ACF Chief Executive Kelly O’Shanassy.
“This funding is a welcome inclusion to the environment budget, which has been slashed by around 40% over the past decade.
“It would make no sense at all if the federal budget also includes money to support the growth of fossil fuels, which are driving climate change and inflicting repeated bleaching events on the reef’s corals.
“We urge the Albanese government not to cancel out the funding for reef restoration by continuing the Morrison government’s support for new gas projects.”
ACF will be looking to next week’s federal budget to fund the government’s recent commitment to protect at least 30% of land by 2030.
On 4 October Environment Minister Tanya Plibersek released a Threatened Species Action Plan with an aim of preventing new extinctions of plants and animals. Scientists estimate $1.69bn a year is needed to tackle Australia’s extinction crisis.
During this year’s election campaign Labor committed to put $224.5m towards a Saving Native Species Program.
Header pic by David Denicolò, via Flickr.