Australia announces $379 million funding for Great Barrier Reef


Australia has pledged £275 million to protect the world-famous Great Barrier Reef.

In a further breakdown of the $444 million, $201 million will go into improving water quality, $100 million will go into reef restoration science, $58 million to combat the crown-of-thorns starfish, and $45 million for community management and engagement.

An worldwide team of scientists, led by the University of Exeter, carried out field experiments on the Northern Great Barrier Reef and found that reefs sound much quieter and less acoustically diverse than they did before three years of cyclones and coral bleaching.

Greenpeace Australia Pacific Climate and Energy Campaigner, Nikola Casule, said the Reef's destruction could be pinned on fossil fuels. The investment also involves the implementation of some lab-grown corals which are more resistant to global warming, in comparison with naturally-grown corals.

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But conservationist group Greenpeace said the investment was a "band-aid" solution to climate change-driven destruction at the World Heritage site. "And on average, across the entire length of the Great Barrier Reef we found that one in three corals died from the 2016 bleaching event", Director, Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies, Terry Hughes said.

In response, the Government has partnered with the Great Barrier Reef Foundation, which will receive the bulk of the funding, to implement a range of projects created to tackle the problem.

Environment Minister Josh Frydenberg and Foreign Minister Julie Bishop announced the investment Sunday - which includes almost $44 million to stem the spread of the crown-of-thorn starfish, a poisonous coral-eating predator.

Australian Prime Minister, Malcom Turnbull announced in late April the government's willingness to spend $ 500 million to improve water quality, protect the ecosystem of species and increase restoration efforts at the Great Barrier Reef. It is also under threat from the coraleating crown-of-thorns starfish, which has proliferated due to pollution and agricultural runoff. "But while the world works to tackle climate change on a global scale, there are many things we can and must do to build the resilience of the Great Barrier Reef right now".