$400 million to save the Great Barrier Reef in the Federal Budget

$400 million to save the Great Barrier Reef in the Federal Budget

Money would also be set aside for fighting the crown-of-thorns starfish, which feeds on coral and has become an ever-present pest; for enhancing reef-health monitoring; and for community engagement and enforcement.

Environment Minister Josh Frydenberg, Foreign Affairs Minister Julie Bishop and Assistant Environment Minister Melissa Price will make the announcement in Cairns today.

To tackle the growing problem of crown-of-thorns starfish, water pollution, and reef damage, the government will team up with the Great Barrier Reef Foundation where $444 million will be allocated to these particular areas.

Investigations showed that two successive heat waves killed almost half of the corals in the most pristine part of the Great Barrier Reef.

The funding will be used to reduce the amount of farming chemicals being dumped into the reef and improve water quality.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull's administration has also come under criticism for pursuing environmentally burdensome gas and coal projects rather than investing in renewable energies that emit fewer greenhouse gases.

Conservationists said while the funding was "an important step", the biggest threat to the reef was global warming and not enough was being done to combat it by embracing clean energy.

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The Nice Barrier Reef covers 216,000sq miles and was world-heritage listed in 1981. "You can't have both", Ms Casule said in a Greenpeace statement on Sunday.

While the world worked on a plan to tackle climate change, these were practical measures to build the Reef's resilience, Chairman John Schubert said. "Climate change is the number one threat to the Great Barrier Reef and only concerted action to cut pollution will fully protect it".

"With this announcement, the government is providing guaranteed funding for the future stages of these programs like field management and crown-of-thorns starfish control".

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.

The Great Barrier Reef is home to some 400 types of coral, 1,500 species of fish and 4,000 varieties of molluscs, and contributes some AU$6.4 billion annually to the country's economy.

The Marine Park Authority will also receive an additional $42.7 million for its joint field management program over the next six years.

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