Australia to Allocate $500Mln to Protect Great Barrier Reef From Climate Change

Australia to Allocate $500Mln to Protect Great Barrier Reef From Climate Change

Turnbull has committed $500 million to a protection package for the Great Barrier Reef

A major outbreak of coral-eating crown-of-thorns starfish has been destroying areas of the world heritage listed reef, prompting a major cull in January.

But in recent years, it has lost almost a third of its coral due to bleaching linked to rising sea temperatures and damage from crown-of-thorns starfish.

Australian Environment Minister Josh Frydenberg said that some of the money would go directly to farmers to modify their practices, and for scientific research to build more resilient coral.

Half-a-billion-dollars will be spent protecting the Great Barrier Reef from damage.

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"The Turnbull Government will invest more than $500 million - the largest ever single investment - to protect the reef, secure its viability and the 64,000 jobs that rely on the Reef", Frydenberg said. The opposition said the government could still fail to reach its target to reduce emissions 26 to 28 per cent on 2005 levels by 2030.

Greenpeace Australia Pacific Climate and Energy Campaigner, Nikola Casule, said the Reef's destruction could be pinned on fossil fuels.

The fight for the reef has helped to open up a debate in Australia over the future of coal, the nation's second-largest export earner which has been blamed by scientists for causing greenhouse gases that have contributed to man-made climate change.

It is also under threat from the coral-eating crown-of-thorns starfish, which has proliferated due to pollution and agricultural runoff.

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"It is an investment not only in the future of the Great Barrier Reef, but also in Australian jobs and our economy through the tourists the Reef attracts every year".

"We must improve water quality". The remaining $40 million will be used to monitor reef health.

UNESCO considered putting it on the "in danger" list a year ago due to recent widespread destruction but voted against it, allowing Australia's conservative government to dodge political embarrassment and potential damage to the country's tourism industry.

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