The Australian Greens are calling for a funding boost for the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority by $82 million over four years to help the Reef survive future bleaching events.
Qld Senator Larissa Waters, Australian Greens Deputy Leader and climate change spokesperson, also committed to an extra $8 million over four years for the Australian Institute of Marine Science.
"To save the Reef from global warming we must stop allowing new coal mines and transition to 100 per cent job-rich renewable energy as rapidly as possible," Senator Waters said.
"In the meantime, the Marine Park Authority and our world-leading scientists at the Australian Institute of Marine Science need enough funding to give our Reef the best chance at survival.
"With the Greens' funding boost, the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority can improve the Reef's resilience to future bleaching events, which are set to become even worse as global warming intensifies.
"The Liberal Turnbull government and the Labor Palaszczuk governments are threatening the Reef with more damaging bleaching events by pushing ahead with economically unviable coal mines in the Galilee Basin.
"We have viable renewable alternatives that don't risk the 67 000 jobs the Reef provides and can create new jobs for people who are losing theirs in the dying coal industry.
"The funding boost would also improve the Marine Park Authority's capacity to fight water quality pollution and regulate coastal development.
"The future of the Great Barrier Reef is at a tipping point - the Marine Park Authority and our scientists must have the resources needed at this crucial time to save our Reef," Senator Waters said.
In total, the Greens are calling for $90.8 million in additional funding over 4 years, including:
- an additional $20.7 million per year for GBRMPA($82.8 million over 4 years)- this includes $80 million in new funding and $2.8 million to reverse the cuts made by the Abbott Government in 2014.
- an additional $2 million per year for AIMS($8 million over 4 years)to reverse the cuts made by the Abbott Government in 2014.
The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority's Climate Change Adaptation Plan 2012-2017 was defunded by the Abbott Government. Actions under the plan included:
- Helping Reef industries like tourism and fishing to improve their environmental performance, putting less pressure on reefs already under stress from global warming.
- Conducting strategic scientific research to guide environmental management
- Communicating with policymakers and with local authorities about likely impacts on the Reef from global warming
Further actions that GBRMPA and AIMS could take to help the Reef with Greens' funding boost:
- Invest in research on which areas of the Reef are most vulnerable to global warming, including the impacts of coral bleaching, ocean acidification and sea level rise, to prioritise conservation actions
- Identify areas of the Reef which could serve as a springboard for regeneration after bleaching events or other impacts, in order to impose higher levels of protection for those areas
- Reduce other pressures likewater quality pollutionfrom land-based run-off including fertiliser and sediment. Coral is more vulnerable to bleaching when water quality is poor, and bleached coral recovers more quickly when water quality is better.
- Undertake more rigorous impact assessments of coastal development which threaten the Reef.
- Implement the actions in theReef 2050 Planwhich the government has committed to, but which they are failing to deliver.