Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced the nine-year, A$1 billion ($896 million) plan, months after narrowly avoiding the world’s largest coral complex from being listed as an endangered site. peril by UNESCO.
We support the health of the reef and the economic future of Queensland tourism operators, hotel providers and communities who are at the heart of the reef economy, Mr. Morrison said.
The move comes ahead of general elections in May, in which Scott Morrison will need to win key Queensland seats near the reef to stay in power.
The threat of bleaching
Already in 2015, when the UN threatened to downgrade the status of the Great Barrier Reef, a World Heritage Site since 1981, Australia launched a multi-billion dollar investment plan to combat the deterioration of the reef. .
But since then, the whole has suffered badly after three very serious episodes of coral bleaching.
Whitening is a withering phenomenon that results in discoloration. It is caused by the rise in water temperature – a consequence of global warming – which leads to the expulsion of the symbiotic algae that give the coral its bright color.
According to a recent study, bleaching has affected 98% of Australia’s Great Barrier Reef since 1998, sparing only a tiny part of the reef.
A major gas and coal exporter
Australia’s Conservative government has so far refused to set a short-term emissions reduction target and has pledged to remain one of the world’s largest exporters of gas and coal.
However, Australians are overwhelmingly in favor of action to limit climate change, having suffered a series of disasters made worse by global warming, from bushfires to droughts and floods.
According to a 2021 poll by the Lowy Institute in Sydney, 60% of Australians believe that
global warming is a serious and urgent problem.