Mark Butler MP.
Shadow Minister for Environment
Climate Change and Water
A Shorten Labor Government will act to protect the Great Barrier Reef, and the 70,000 jobs it supports, from the disastrous effects of climate change and other threats.
Labor will implement an action plan to address the issues facing Australia’s greatest natural asset by boosting Reef management resources, ramping up scientific monitoring and research and new investment in improving water quality and land management.
The Great Barrier Reef is the largest coral reef ecosystem on earth and one of the best known marine areas in the world.
The reef attracts more than two million visitors each year, contributes $5.7 billion to the economy, and supports approximately 70,000 jobs.
All of this is at risk if serious action is not taken to protect it.
The Great Barrier Reef is an environmental treasure Australia holds on trust for the world.
A Labor Government will make protecting the Reef one of our highest priorities.
Since 1985, there has been a 50 per cent loss in hard coral cover across the Reef.
The Reef is under pressure from climate change, poor water quality (nutrients, sediments and pesticides), coastal development, extreme weather events, including freshwater inundation, ocean acidification and outbreaks of Crown of Thorns Starfish.
Australia needs real leadership to address these issues.
That is why Labor will implement our Great Barrier Reef Plan - a long-term, coordinated and resourced strategy.
It will be supported by a fund of $500 million over five years, including $377 million of new investment.
This is a down payment on Labor’s commitment to protect this great national treasure and the jobs it supports.
Labor will work with the Queensland Government and stakeholders to implement the recommendations of the Great Barrier Reef Water Science Taskforce report.
Our plan will be implemented in close consultation with the Queensland Government and all other stakeholders, with the Environment Minister taking a direct leadership role in its implementation.
Our plan to protect this delicate ecosystem has three pillars covering research, management, investment and preservation:
- Science and Research: Improve science and research and monitoring of Reef issues to ensure the protection and sustainability of the Reef is based on the latest, specialised science. This includes directing the CSIRO Marine to conduct Reef-specific science, including climate research, supported by a $50 million targeted funding boost.
- Direct Environmental Investment: Integrated direct investment to improve, water quality, land management, agricultural and environmental impacts.
- Reef Management: Improve Reef management architecture and incentives to fix the fragmented and uncoordinated approach that has for too long characterised Reef management and conservation.
Malcolm Turnbull used to say he believed in climate change, but he has sold Australians out and let our country down.
A party without a credible plan to take action on climate change is a party without a plan for the future.
Only last week, it was revealed that the Turnbull Government intervened to censor Australia being mentioned in the report on the impact of global warming on World Heritage Areas.
The best way to help the Reef and to boost tourism and economic growth is to take serious action on climate change, to face the challenge and show leadership.
Labor’s investment in the Reef goes beyond conservation – it is an investment in the tourism and agricultural industries of our coastal communities.
Labor’s plan will protect jobs, local industries and tourism, and ensure that our natural wonder of the world is strengthened for future generations to enjoy.
For more information about Labor’s Great Barrier Reef Plan, please visit: www.100positivepolicies.org.au/great_barrier_reef_plan_fact_sheet