Minister: Protection of GBR is Top Priority for Australian Government

The Abbott Government is protecting the Great Barrier Reef by delivering the election commitment to implement a Reef 2050 Plan, said Environment Minister Greg Hunt.

The Reef 2050 Plan includes a Long Term Sustainability Plan and the establishment of a new $40 million Reef Trust to deliver important new projects to help protect this natural wonder of the world.

The Plan will guide the sustainability and management of the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area to 2050. It will continue efforts to protect species such as dugongs and turtles, and deal with key threats like nutrient run-off and crown-of-thorns starfish outbreaks.

The initial $40 million investment in the Reef Trust will be used to support the improvement of coastal habitat, water quality and enhancing species protection along the Great Barrier Reef.

This injection of funding builds upon the current five-year program of actions to protect the Great Barrier Reef which is targeted to improving the quality of water flowing into the reef lagoon and enhancing the Reef’s resilience.

The Reef 2050 Plan is being developed jointly with the Queensland Government and Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority and will capture the commitments, programs and policies of government and industry contributing to the protection and management of the World Heritage area, including ongoing delivery of the Reef Program and the joint Reef Water Quality Protection Plan.

The Commonwealth and Queensland Governments will shortly sign a memorandum of understanding setting out agreed arrangements for jointly delivering the Reef Trust which will support the delivery of cost effective, strategic investment to support real action in the Great Barrier Reef and catchments.

Together with the Queensland Government, we are currently seeking views on the long-term design and development of the Reef Trust. Community and expert input will ensure that the Reef Trust remains a well-informed and adaptive instrument that evolves to address the key threats to the Reef,” said Hunt, and added: “Getting the Great Barrier Reef’s management and protection right is a top priority for the Australian Government and this effort is being reinvigorated through this first Abbott Government Budget.”

Press Release, May 13, 2014

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