Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has committed $60 million in world-first research to preserve the future of the Great Barrier Reef.
Announced today by Mr Turnbull in Townsville, the funding package hopes to improve protective measures against crown-of-thorns starfish while also reducing pollution currently flowing into the reef.
“This ground-breaking program over the next 18 months builds on significant advances in coral reef science over the past decade and will develop the next generation of tools and technologies to protect the Reef and help it recover from bleaching, cyclone damage and other ongoing threats,” a government statement said.
“For the first time The Commonwealth will bring together key agencies to explore ways the Reef can best adapt to the changing environment to protect it for decades to come.
“As a critical national asset, the Reef protects Queensland’s coastal infrastructure, supports 64,000 jobs and provides $6.4 billion a year to the economy.”
The Australian Institute of Marine Science and the CSIRO will receive $6 million to design the scope of the program and leverage private investment.
An additional $5 million will be used to increase the number of field officers for reef management, improving compliance and providing early warning signs of further bleaching.