Now Reading
The Great Barrier Reef funding of $1 billion is absurd. Australia and its natural wonders deserve much better

The Great Barrier Reef funding of $1 billion is absurd. Australia and its natural wonders deserve much better

Graph showing ocean temperatures on the reef since 1900

Today, the federal government is due Report back to UNESCOIts efforts to protect the Great Barrier Reef. The government’s Announcement last week of A$1 billion of additional funding is welcome, but it will do little to allay UNESCO’s concerns.

Climate change is a major concern Number one threatThe Great Barrier Reef. The new funding is intended to address other threats that the natural wonder faces and may improve its resilience. ResilienceFailing to address climate change is both disappointing as well as nonsensical.

The graph below shows how ocean temperatures on the reef in December of last year were the Record-breaking warmth. This brings us to the fourth possibility. Mass bleachingThis decade.

The Great Barrier Reef Close. last year to being put on a list of World Heritage “in danger” sites. The funding announcement seems primarily to appease UNESCO with one eye also on upcoming federal elections. But saving the Great Barrier Reef is not about throwing money at it – what matters is how the dollars are spent.

Graph showing ocean temperatures on the reef since 1900

By the numbers

The government’s $1 billion package includes:

  • 58% to address land-based water quality issues that impact the World Heritage Area

  • 26% to reduce crown of-thorns starfish, and prevent illegal fishing

  • 9% for the development of scientific technologies

  • 7% allocated to local communities – including Traditional Owners – for habitat restoration, citizen scienceReduce your carbon footprint marine debris.

All measures must be funded. But they’re nowhere near as important as addressing the root cause of climate change: greenhouse gas emissions. The $1 billion should have been used to assist Australia in phasing out fossil fuels.

What’s more, the federalAnd QueenslandNew coal and gas projects are still being approved by governments. This, while knowing the serious threat climate change poses for the Great Barrier Reef, is a sign of the incoherence within government policies.

steam billows from coal stacks
The best way for federal government to help Great Barrier Reef is to eliminate fossil fuels.

Detail is the Devil

The details of the funding package are not as impressive and detailed as they appear.

The $1 billion funding was allocated over nine years. Given the four-year election cycle, this is much more than any government can commit to. It is urgent that major funding increases are made, and they should be done within a single term.

Also, federal Labor’s Proposal for fundingFor the Great Barrier Reef, it is essential to increase its population.

Another concern is funding allocations for new scientific technologies, such as coral seeding and the development of heat-resistant corals. While some of these technologies might have had positive results on a limited scale, others could have had more significant impacts. None of these technologies have produced positive results on a small scale. Yet, it was possibleAt the large scale required to make a real impact on the Great Barrier Reef

Efforts to address water qualityThese are crucial. Poor water quality is the greatest threat to the reef’s health, following climate change. It’s largely caused by nutrients, pesticides and sediment runoff from agriculture and coastal development.

Continue reading:
It is impossible to declare the Great Barrier Reef ‘in Danger’ if you don’t want to delay the inevitable

But the government has already spent hundreds of million trying to improve water quality. Only limited success. Reduce water pollution requires more efficient spending than just more funds.

This is just one example of how money alone cannot fix all the Great Barrier Reef’s problems. Water quality improvement requires a balance between voluntary industry-led efforts and enforced rules.

Queensland’s government must increase its effectiveness. Compliance and enforcementConcerning fertiliser runoff into creeks that flow to reefs, Many farmers do the right thing, but others are clearly not.

To improve water quality, governments should be prepared to limit agriculture expansion and clearing in areas that support reef catchment.

See Also
Man carries air cooler unit

brown plume of pollution in blue waters
Flood plume reaching the Great Barrier Reef. Water quality improvement requires stricter enforcement of rules.
Matt Curnock

Learn from our mistakes

For YearsThe federal government knows the Great Barrier Reef is under pressure. But it continues to maintain a “business as usual” attitude in the face of the worsening climate crisis. Governments worldwide must dramatically increase their climate ambitions – and for the Great Barrier Reef, this action should start at home.

As the Murray Darling Basin experience ShowsFunding an environmental catastrophe? It does not solve the problemThis is especially true if the core issue is not addressed.

The government must also better allocate funds to achieve effective and timely “adaptive management”. This means that decisions can be adjusted as the outcomes are better understood.

Such management should include considering both the good and bad outcomes of reef interventions to date – both those controlled by government agencies and those managed by external groups such as the Great Barrier Reef Foundation.

Continue reading:
Is Australia doing enough to protect the Great Barrier Reef? Why criticisms of UNESCO’s ‘in danger’ recommendation don’t stack up

bleached coral
To prevent further damage to the Great Barrier Reef, we must learn from the mistakes of the past.

The latest government funding boost was welcome, but it’s suspiciously timed. Environmental policy and budget allocations should not be about a government’s reputation and firming up its electoral prospects – especially when so much is at stake.

UNESCO is likely welcome additional efforts to improve water quality. It has also specifically addressed the issue of water quality. We urge you to Australia to take “accelerated action at all possible levels” to address the climate threat. It remains to be seen if UNESCO will continue to exert pressure on the federal government.

One key question remains amid all this. Will Australians elect a federal government that supports environmental industries as the Great Barrier Reef continues its decline?

One thing is certain, the Australian people and their Great Barrier Reef deserve more.

Continue reading:
Five major heatwaves have turned the Great Barrier Reef into an unblemished checkerboard in just 30 years.

View Comments (0)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.