The Queensland Government has reaffirmed its support for the Great Barrier Reef announcing all financial commitments for improving its water quality are on track to be delivered.
Premier Campbell Newman said the Government was dedicated to restoring the Reef’s health.
“The Great Barrier Reef is a Queensland icon, worth around $5 billion a year to the State economy while supporting more than 50,000 jobs,” Mr Newman said.
“Recent claims about funding cuts for the Reef Water Quality Protection Plan Secretariat show a serious lack of understanding around the issues and the work that is being undertaken by the LNP.
“We have always said that we are committed to the objectives and targets of the Plan and will maintain the existing $35 million annual budget allocation for Reef initiatives.
“The $503,000 that was saved from the Reef Plan Secretariat was surplus money, reflecting an underspend within the budget.
“No reef water quality monitoring has been shelved, especially not the Paddock to Reef program.
“The Secretariat successfully delivered its commitments and is continuing to push programs to improve reef water quality in an efficient manner.
“I understand efficiency and cost savings are foreign concepts to the ALP, but that is no excuse for ignorance.
“Labor left us with a legacy of debt that is rapidly approaching $100 billion, so we make no excuses for saving money where possible, while continuing to drive effective programs and policy.”
Mr Newman said the LNP had been in Government for a little more than 80 days, but had already demonstrated a commitment to protecting the world’s largest living organism.
“We recently announced a strategic assessment of the Great Barrier Reef,” he said.
“This represents an actual boost in funding and should restore confidence that Queensland now has a Government which recognises the importance of the Great Barrier Reef.”
Dredging Today Staff, June 18, 2012; Image: westernbasinportdevelopment