On April 29, 2018, after many years of delay, the government of Australia committed A$500 million to help restore the Great Barrier Reef.
Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority Chairman Dr. Russell Reichelt welcomed the funding, saying it was a “game changer”, in that it significantly ramps up reef restoration and protection programs, and enables them to seek co-funding from private investors and philanthropists.
The Australian government’s largest single investment for the Reef creates a $443.3 million partnership with the Great Barrier Reef Foundation to invest in projects to tackle key risks to the Reef and seek co-funding from private investors and philanthropists.
The Marine Park Authority will also receive an additional $42.7 million for its joint field management program over the next six years. After that time, the Marine Park Authority will receive a guaranteed ongoing funding increase of more than $10 million per year for field management – doubling the Australian government’s contribution to the program in the long-term.
“We’re delighted the Australian Government provided this significant funding to protect one of the world’s most precious natural areas, the Great Barrier Reef,” Reichelt said.
“This is a hugely positive outcome for the Great Barrier Reef and comes at a critical time after back-to-back mass coral bleaching triggered by the increasing pressure of global warming,” he continued. “We’re delighted to continue working with the Great Barrier Reef Foundation as they explore the possibilities this funding provides, including opportunities to seek co-funding from investors to add to this investment.”
The Great Barrier Reef is a diverse and remarkable ecosystem that’s home to unique plants, animals and habitats. It makes up 10 per cent of the world’s coral reef habitat. It is also the sea country home for the first Australians—more than 70 Traditional Owner groups—whose connections to the marine environment date back more than 60,000 years.
“The funding provides us with a long-term guarantee of a strong on-water presence to manage the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area through the on-ground work by our field officers,” Reichelt added. “It enables us to boost our efforts – there will be more people on the ground to ensure compliance, to undertake island and reef restoration activities, and respond to incidents, which will support the ability of reefs and islands to recover after disturbance. The future of the Great Barrier Reef relies on the collaboration and efforts of many to ensure this natural icon is protected now and into the future.”
This funding announcement follows a $58 million boost in January 2018, which provided initial funding for many components of this new investment.
“Today’s funding announcement demonstrates the Government’s ongoing commitment to achieve the Reef 2050 Plan initiatives and reflects the intent of our Reef Blueprint,” Dr. Reichelt concluded. “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.”
The Great Barrier Reef Foundation exists to ensure a Great Barrier Reef for future generations. They seek-out the solutions and innovations that will also benefit coral reefs globally, as they tackle the same threats and challenges facing the world’s largest coral reef. They are the lead charity dedicated to protecting the Great Barrier Reef through funding solutions grounded in science, technology, engineering and on-ground action to ensure their long-term conservation.
The Foundation was established in 2000 in response to the United Nations World Heritage Convention that encouraged countries with world heritage sites to establish a national foundation whose purpose is to invite donations for their protection.
They lead the collaboration of business, science, government and philanthropy – groups who would not otherwise come together – for the benefit of the Reef. Their success is due to the quality of institutions and people they bring together; they harness advances in science, technology and industry to ensure a future for this global treasure.
Working closely with the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority, the foundation funds priority projects that help protect and restore the Great Barrier Reef, and build its resilience in the face of major threats like climate change.
Photo of Great Barrier Reef via Adobe Stock.