Joint media release: Record Budget boost to protect Great Barrier Reef

The Hon Tanya Plibersek MP, Minister for the Environment and Water
Senator Nita Green, Special Envoy for the Great Barrier Reef 

In next week's budget the Albanese Government will deliver an additional $204 million for the Great Barrier Reef. This delivers on our election commitment to spend a record $1.2 billion to protect, manage and restore the Reef. 

Minister for the Environment and Water Tanya Plibersek today outlined the Government’s vision for the future of the Reef, following through on Labor's election commitment to make the environment and the preservation of the Reef a priority. 

The additional funding will immediately address critical gaps in the Reef 2050 Long-Term Sustainability Plan and speed-up Reef protection activities.

Catchment restoration programs will restore and remediate gully and stream banks to reduce sediment run-off into the reef and improve water quality.

Additional funding will also support targeted blue carbon ecosystem restoration projects. Mangroves, tidal marshes and seagrasses are critical in protecting the reef from run off but also provide important breeding and feeding habitats for marine life. 

$20 million will be dedicated to assist corals to evolve more quickly and adapt to their changing environment, as well as supporting natural restoration of damaged and degraded reefs.

New funding will deliver stronger fisheries management and protect threatened species on the Reef by working with commercial fishers to reduce by-catch through modifying and upgrading fishing equipment. 

A grant of $15.3 million will be provided to set up the new Coastal Marine Ecosystems Research Centre at the Central Queensland University in Gladstone. This will allow the hire of additional specialist staff and set up new research laboratories. The centre will undertake critical scientific work to improve Australia’s understanding of Reef ecosystems.  

Together with the Queensland Government, the new funding brings Australia’s total Reef investment to more than $4.4 billion from 2014-15 to 2029-30.

Quotes attributable to the Minister for the Environment and Water, the Hon Tanya Plibersek: 

“If we protect the Reef, we protect our future. This new investment will bring forward actions that have been long overdue.

“Under the previous government, the Reef 2050 Plan was allowed to drift of course. We’re bringing it back on track. 

“This funding will deliver stronger monitoring to ensure water quality targets are met, improve our understanding of blue carbon ecosystems and support Traditional Owners to manage land and sea country. 

“Budget funding will improve water quality by restoring and expanding mangrove and seagrass beds to reduce sediment run-off into the reef and provide important habitat for marine life.

“We will also work with commercial fishers to reduce by-catch through modifying and upgrading fishing equipment.

“I am proud of what the Labor Government has delivered to protect the Great Barrier Reef since we were elected in May. 

“We are taking strong and immediate action on climate change and investing a record $1.2 billion to 2030 to protect, manage and restore the Reef. 

"This funding will ensure our Reef’s health improves and thrives into the future.”

Quotes attributable to Special Envoy for the Great Barrier Reef, Nita Green:

 “The Reef sustains 64,000 Australian jobs and contributes $6.4 billion to the Australian economy. 

“From Cairns to Gladstone protecting the Reef means investing in regional communities.

“As well as a crucial investment for our natural environment, this will support the entire Queensland – and Australian – economy. 

“It is another important step that this government is taking to protect and manage this amazing natural wonder and support the communities that rely on it, ensuring the Reef’s viability for generations to come.”