The Australian Marine Conservation Society (AMCS) says the federal government must invest far more than $400m in the forthcoming budget and must demonstrate leadership on climate change in order to protect the future of the Great Barrier Reef.
AMCS is responding to a report in The Australian today that the federal budget will contain a $400 million rescue package for the Reef.
“The Reef cannot be rescued without an ambitious commitment to cut carbon pollution and switch from coal and other fossil fuels to renewable energy,” Imogen Zethoven, Fight for our Reef campaign director of AMCS said.
“Our Great Barrier Reef also needs a multi-billion fund to fast-track farm practices and repair Reef catchments. New funds must be matched by new state regulations to improve water quality as voluntary measures backed up by millions of taxpayer funds is not fixing the problem.
“Millions of taxpayer dollars have been spent in the past on Reef rescue packages with little accountability and little to show for it. Yet the condition of our beautiful Great Barrier Reef is getting worse.
“We are fast running out of time to fix the problems of poor water quality and climate change to secure the Reef’s future.
“Mining and burning coal is accelerating global warming. Sea temperatures are increasing and corals are dying from heat stress. During the last two summers, 50% of shallow water corals in the Reef died.
“Protecting the Reef for the future means stopping the damage caused through the burning of coal, oil and gas and fixing water quality with a serious investment package.
“Unless the federal government shows leadership on climate change, we will need to see yet another Reef rescue package in another three years,” Ms Zethoven said.
For comment call Ingrid Neilson AMCS Communications Manager: 0421 972 731