WWF-Australia said the 2017 Queensland budget contains some wins for the Great Barrier Reef and the environment, including a boost to Indigenous rangers.
WWF-Australia spokesperson Sean Hoobin said key programs aimed at improving Reef water quality were coming to the end of their scheduled funding period, causing concern.
“This budget secures those funds for the future which is crucial to help Reef recovery,” Mr Hoobin said.
“$175 million is now locked in over the next five years to reduce the pollution that flows to the Reef.
“It’s an important first step but both the Federal and Queensland governments will need to substantially increase funding.
“UNESCO recently expressed concern that immediate water quality targets for the Reef are not expected to be achieved on time,” he said.
WWF-Australia has long advocated for more Indigenous rangers and the budget includes funding for an extra 25 Indigenous rangers taking the total number to 100.
“We congratulate the government for a significant boost to Indigenous rangers,” said WWF-Australia conservation scientist Dr Martin Taylor.
An extra $40 million over two years has been announced for revitalising national parks and extra $15 million over three years for climate change mitigation and adaptation in Queensland.
Dr Taylor said while there had been gains for the environment today they could not counter the ongoing damage caused by excessive tree-clearing.
“Bulldozers are destroying the forest homes of koalas and other threatened species, and causing more polluted sediment to wash into Reef waters.
“WWF calls on all members of the Queensland Parliament to support stronger protections against excessive tree-clearing,” he said.
WWF-Australia Media Contact:
Mark Symons, Senior Media Officer, 0400 985 571