WWF-Australia says the Federal Government’s announcement today of $60 million to protect the Great Barrier Reef is positive but nowhere near enough to meet Australia’s promise to the World Heritage Committee.
The Australian Government has vowed that by 2025 sediment pollution to the Reef will be reduced by up to 50% and nitrogen pollution by up to 80%.
Expert scientists advising the government have said progress to date is very poor and it will take much greater investment to achieve these pollution reductions.
The UNESCO World Heritage Committee has called for Australia to “rigorously implement” all its commitment including water quality targets.
It will consider the state of the Reef again in 2020 with the possibility it could be listed as “world heritage in danger.”
“The funding announced today won’t get us to the water quality targets we promised UNESCO,” said WWF-Australia spokesperson Sean Hoobin.
“Failing on these targets is failing the Reef. With almost half the coral cover lost to bleaching over the last two years the Reef needs a massive new investment to help it respond to global warming.
“Innovative research into heat resistant coral and small-scale crown of thorns starfish culling programs are useful but they don’t address the key threats to the Reef.”
“With Australia elected to the World Heritage Committee late last year, we should be dramatically increasing our Reef commitments,” he said.
WWF is calling for the Federal Government to commit $475 million a year for the next four years to improve water quality in key Great Barrier Reef catchments.