Australia has announced an additional A$100m ($78m) of funding for the Great Barrier Reef Trust in a bid to support the implementation of the Reef 2050 Long Term Sustainability Plan.
This latest funding will be used to tackle key challenges facing the reef, in particular projects to improve water quality amid fears of environment damage following mining expansion, and would also raise the Reef Trust amount to A$140m ($109m).
With these monies, the overall investment by governments in the Reef exceeds $2bn over the next decade.
The plan is set to draw together all the work, expertise and science required to manage the reef for the next three decades and beyond.
Separately, coral reef scientists in Australia have called for the scrapping of coal mining and port developments in Queensland to prevent damage to the Great Barrier Reef.
Five Australian universities have compiled an Australian Coral Reef Society (ACRS) report, which was submitted to the United Nations. The investigation warns that ‘industrialising the Great Barrier Reef coastline will cause further stress to what is already a fragile ecosystem.’
According to the report, nine proposed mines in the Galilee Basin in central Queensland would produce coal that will emit an estimated 705 million tonnes of carbon dioxide at capacity.
In the ACRS report, the scientists urged the importance of rethinking plans to expand the Abbot Point port, near the town of Bowen, as well as calling for a halt to the Galilee Basin mines, which are supported by Queensland and federal governments.
The expansion requires dredging five million tonnes of seabed to support more shipping movements through the reef and will also increas the amount of coal dust blowing around the area.
Image: Satellite image of part of the Great Barrier Reef adjacent to the Queensland coastal areas of Airlie Beach and Mackay. Photo: courtesy of NASA.