Response to Senate inquiry into Great Barrier Reef 2050 Partnership Program

The Hon. Melissa Price MP

Minister for the Environment

Right now the Great Barrier Reef needs action, not politics.

The Coalition has committed more than $1.2 billion to protect the Reef for generations to come, including the funding to the Great Barrier Reef Foundation.

Anyone who steps back from the political point scoring of late, must acknowledge the outstanding calibre of the scientific, environmental, community and business credentials of the Great Barrier Reef Foundation.

We are providing record funding to protect the reef at a critical time. We developed the Reef Trust, reformed the governance of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority, and with the Queensland Government established the Reef 2050 long-term sustainability plan. This Government is taking real action.

People who genuinely care about protecting the Reef will support the fact that governments, scientists, communities and the private sector are now working together to achieve real outcomes that will help this natural wonder.

When Labor left office after six years, five massive dredge disposal projects were planned in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park and UNESCO placed the Reef on its ‘in-danger’ watch-list. Now it wants to put the future of the Reef in doubt again by stopping the work of the Foundation.

The ANAO report on the grant confirms our decision was based on comprehensive policy development, and all decisions taken by Ministers were informed by written advice prepared by the department. There is absolutely no basis to take back the grant.

The Reef is not only one of the natural wonders of the world, it is incredibly important to the economy, with 64,000 jobs and $6.4 billion in economic value provided every year.

Queensland communities that depend on the Reef want us to get on and protect it – Labor has demonstrated today that it is more interested in its own political future than the future of the Reef.

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