The Greens today announced a plan to protect the Great Barrier Reef, including a $2 billion fund and a legal cap on run-off pollution fix water quality, as well as action on global warming and a stronger role for the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority.
Greens Deputy Leader Senator Larissa Waters said:
“This is the critical election for the Reef. Our best scientists are telling us that could lose the Reef within a generation unless we take immediate action on global warming and fixing water quality.
“As slime is covering corals bleached dead by global warming, it’s clear we need to transition to clean energy to save our Great Barrier Reef and the 69 000 jobs it provides.
“With coal on the way out and thousands of Queensland workers losing their jobs, we Greens would re-train workers and provide jobs in clean energy, while protecting Reef tourism jobs by acting on global warming.
“To address water quality, we’re calling for a $2 billion fund, including existing funding and $1.7 billion in new funding.
“Out of this $2 billion fund, we would provide $500 million in new grant funding, to improve water quality including via revegetation of creeks and wetland restoration.
“We would also create a $1.2 billion Reef Repair Loan Facility, modelled on the Clean Energy Finance Corporation, to help farmers transition to low-polluting methods.
“As well as the $2 billion fund, we’re calling for a legal cap on run-off pollution, on a catchment-by-catchment basis, which gradually strengthens over time to allow less run off.
“By adopting less-polluting methods, with support from our $2 billion fund, farmers would be able to make more profits while protecting the Reef.
“We will not be able to meet our ambitious targets of 80% reduction in fertiliser run-off by 2025 without dramatically increasing incentives for farmers to take up less-polluting methods.
“The Greens would also reverse the funding cuts to the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority and boost this Reef champion’s funding by $20 million per year.
“We would and strengthen the Marine Park Authority’s independence and powers, allowing it to regulate coastal development which could have a significant on the Reef.
“Our costed Great Barrier Reef plan is part of our balanced platform of policies, which includes raising revenue by removing subsidies for big mining companies and putting a levy on coal exports,” Senator Waters said.