CANBERRA, Australia – The Australian government said on Friday that it will invest an additional USD1 billion (USD703 million) in conserving the world-famous Great Barrier Reef.
The investment will be used to improve water quality, reef management, and research over the next nine years, according to Prime Minister Scott Morrison.
The package, according to the government, will support 64,000 employment and the economic future of tourism operators by increasing money allocated to the Reef 2050 Plan to more than 3 billion AUD (USD2.1 billion).
The Great Barrier Reef is the world's largest coral reef and a major tourist attraction in Australia. Climate change is a threat, as evidenced by recent large coral bleaching occurrences.
More than half of the new funds announced on Friday - 579.9 million Australian dollars (408 million US dollars) - will be used to improve water quality in the area through reducing erosion.
The declaration comes just weeks after Anthony Albanese, the leader of the opposition Labor Party, indicated that if his party won the 2022 election, he would invest 163 million AUD (USD114 million) in preserving the Great Barrier Reef and supporting the tens of thousands of employment that rely on it.