Investing $8.2 billion to dramatically reduce pollution flowing to the Great Barrier Reef should be an urgent, national priority, WWF-Australia said today.
The estimate of $8.2 billion is the key finding of a report on the costs of slashing sediment and fertilizer runoff to the Reef by 2025.
“We congratulate the Queensland Government for commissioning this historic report. It’s the most detailed and comprehensive assessment ever undertaken of what it will cost to save the Reef,” WWF-Australia spokesperson Sean Hoobin said.
“This report confirms that the money committed so far by Australia falls far short of what’s required,” he said.
The Australian Government has to report back to the World Heritage Committee by 1 December and they have specifically requested an Investment Plan to show that the commitments made in the Reef 2050 Plan will be properly resourced.
Mr Hoobin said the Reef would quickly repay an $8 billion dollar investment.
“Over the next decade the Reef will generate $60 billion for the economy and support 70 000 jobs a year.
“It’s simply good business to invest to save the jewel in the crown of Australia’s tourism industry.
“Australia is spending almost $13 billion on the Murray-Darling Basin, surely the Reef is worth $8 billion,” he said.
Mr Hoobin said Australia has a target of reducing nitrogen or fertilizer pollution by up to 80%.
“But the spending recommended in the costings report does not achieve the nitrogen target - that shortfall must be addressed,” he said.
“Most of the multi-billion dollar investment is to repair erosion hot-spots caused by unsustainable tree clearing and grazing.
“The cost to save the Reef will blow out by billions more if we don’t have strong laws to control tree clearing and pollution.
“It is also critical the government acts quickly on the Taskforce Recommendations to put Reef pollution limits in law,” he said.
WWF-Australia Media Contact:
Mark Symons, Senior Media Officer, 0400 985 571, firstname.lastname@example.org