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Australia PM guarantees $700m extra to guard Nice Barrier Reef

Scott Morrison funding will assist shield about 64,000 jobs in Queensland however critics say he’s ignoring threats to local weather change.

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison has introduced an additional one billion Australian {dollars} ($703m) to protect the Great Barrier Reef and help 1000’s of tourism jobs, simply months earlier than a federal election.

The reef, one in all Australia’s best-known pure points of interest is underneath risk from international warming and has been a lightning rod for criticism of the ruling conservative coalition’s help for fossil fuels.

Morrison, already underneath stress over his dealing with of the nation’s worst COVID-19 outbreak fuelled by the Omicron variant, mentioned on Friday that the funding will assist shield about 64,000 jobs in Queensland that depend upon the reef.

The northeastern state will likely be a significant battleground when Morrison goes to the polls by Could, in search of a fourth consecutive time period for his occasion. His conservative coalition at present holds 23 of the state’s 30 decrease home seats in Parliament.

“We’re backing the well being of the reef and the financial way forward for tourism operators, hospitality suppliers, and Queensland communities which are on the coronary heart of the reef financial system,” he mentioned in a press release.

 

The extra funding for use over the following 9 years will add to an present two billion Australian greenback ($1.4bn) bundle designed to protect the reef from environmental threats over the following three many years.

Made up of greater than 3,000 particular person reefs stretching for two,300km (1,430 miles), the Great Barrier Reef has lost more than half of its coral over three decades with marine heatwaves triggering three main bleaching occasions prior to now 5 years.

Greater than half of the brand new funds will likely be used to enhance water high quality by stopping land erosion and limiting nutrient and pesticides runoff from farms. The remaining will likely be used to focus on invasive species and for monitoring methods.

Environmental group Greenpeace mentioned it was “astounding” to see the federal government planning to allocate extra funds while ignoring climate change.

Morrison has steadfastly dominated out more durable motion on greenhouse fuel emissions, arguing it could value jobs, and has dominated out strengthening Australia’s 2030 emissions goal.

The opposition Labor occasion described the funding as an election stunt.

“The federal government has left tourism companies in far north Queensland within the lurch, now with 5 minutes to an election marketing campaign, they wish to faux they care,” Labor occasion Treasurer Jim Chalmers instructed reporters.

The reef got here close to being listed as an endangered World Heritage Site by the United Nations last year. After intense lobbying by Australia, the UN panel deferred a vote till early 2022.

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