Australia Commits $500 Million To Save Great Barrier Reef From Climate Change

Australia Commits $500 Million To Save Great Barrier Reef From Climate Change

Australia Commits $500 Million To Save Great Barrier Reef From Climate Change

The Turnbull government is promising to spend $500 million to help restore and protect the Great Barrier Reef.

Crown-of-thorns starfish, which feed on coral, have done massive damage to the reef system.

A study in the journal Nature said some 30 percent of the reef's coral perished, the first of an unprecedented two successive years of coral bleaching along the 2,300-kilometre (1,400-mile) reef.

Critics seized on Australia's subsidized development of gas and coal, especially its openness to the Adani coal mine in northern Australia that would be among the world's largest, pushing coal on boats running near the reef.

The financial aid will go towards improving water quality on the great barrier reef, expanding reef restoration and developing coral that's more resistant to high temperatures and light stress.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull's statement on Sunday said 64,000 jobs were tied to the Reef's survival, adding $6.4 billion to Queensland and Australian economies each year.

A 2017 survey found coral mortality varied from the northern to the southern end of the Great Barrier Reef.

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"They look to Australia to provide the technical expertise, the scientific research, and to give the best practice management of coral reefs and that's what we demonstrate", she told reporters on Sunday from Cairns on Australia's east coast.

The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority the Department of the Environment and Energy will also be boosted with $56 million to expand environmental management and compliance operations on the reef.

"It's not working, it's not achieving major water quality improvements", he said.

The reef is a critical national asset, contributing nearly $5 billion a year to the Australian economy.

Agricultural run-off from sugar cane farms and cattle stations has also harmed the section of reef that is closest to shore, according to Bradley Opdike, a marine scientist at the Australian National University.

Earlier this month, scientists said the site suffered a "catastrophic die-off" of coral during an extended heatwave in 2016, threatening a broader range of reef life than previously feared.

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