An Albanese Labor Government will commit $163 million to conserve the Great Barrier Reef and support the tens of thousands of jobs that depend on it.
The Great Barrier Reef is one of Australia’s national icons. It is central to Queensland life and the Queensland economy. In a normal year, the Reef supports 64,000 jobs and generates $6.4 billion in income.
Preserving national assets like the Great Barrier Reef is an important part of Labor’s plan for a Future Made in Australia.
In protecting the reef, we are also protecting our future.
To immediately boost conservation efforts and jobs, Labor will commit $85 million to scale up ‘shovel-ready’ work for coral to coast reef resilience and land restoration projects in Reef catchments.
To defend the Reef against the risk of being added to the World Heritage ‘in danger’ list, Labor will commit to funding the Reef 2050 program through to the end of the decade, committing an extra $63 million over the forward estimates.
The current Liberal National Government handed almost half a billion dollars to a tiny, ill-equipped, private foundation in a backroom deal, without a tender.
Labor will terminate the much-criticised funding arrangement with that private foundation, and reallocate any unspent funds, while retaining worthwhile programs.
The future of our reef cannot be dependent on a dodgy Liberal jobs-for-mates deal.
Labor will commit $15 million to marine research in the Southern part of the Great Barrier Reef, to scale up the Coastal Marine Ecosystems Research Centre in Gladstone.
The Reef faces significant conservation challenges, in addition to climate change, which remains the greatest threat to Reef health.
Alongside these environmental risks, perceptions about Reef health as well as the COVID-19 pandemic have meant extraordinarily tough times for tourism operators, environmentalists, traditional owners, and regional communities.
The Morrison-Joyce Government has gone missing when it comes to backing North Queensland through this tough time. And they have no plan for what happens next.
Australia’s incredible natural environment is part of who we are as a country and is a drawcard for tourists all over the world. We need to shore up the future of these natural assets just like we do other parts of the economy.
Only an Albanese Labor Government can be trusted to stand up for the Reef and the jobs and communities it supports.
Only Labor will build a better future for Queensland.