Australia to pay for Great Barrier Reef restoration and protection

Budget earmarks $500m to mitigate Great Barrier Reef climate change

The Great Barrier Reef will receive a $500 million (€312 million) funding boost to restore water quality and protect the coral from attack by starfish, government ministers in Australia have announced.

The reef can be seen from space and was listed as a world heritage site in 1981 by the United Nations cultural body Unesco.

The announcement comes just weeks after a study, published in Nature journal, found 29 per cent of reefs lost two-thirds or more of their corals in a "catastrophic" marine heatwave in 2016.

"They look to Australia to provide the technical expertise, the scientific research, and to give the best practice management of coral reefs and that's what we demonstrate", she told reporters on Sunday from Cairns on Australia's east coast.

The federal government of Australia is allocating half a billion dollars to save the Great Barrier Reef from climate change and other threats.

The Turnbull government has committed $500 million to a protection package for the Great Barrier Reef - the largest of its kind in Australian history. We must address crown-of-thorns-starfish outbreaks.

Foreign Minister Julie Bishop said regional countries looked to Australia's example as a world leader in reef management, as the government's 2050 Plan was approved by the World Heritage Committee as being a standard for the rest of the world to follow.

With its heavy use of coal-fired power and relatively small population, Australia is considered one of the world's worst per-capita greenhouse gas polluters. "You can't have both", Ms Casule said in a Greenpeace statement on Sunday. A study published in the journal Current Biology on January 8 showed that the green turtles in the Great Barrier reef are turning female as a result of the warming water temperatures, threatening the population of the species.

The funding will be used to reduce the runoff of agricultural pesticides and improve water quality.

The reef is a critical national asset, contributing nearly $5 billion a year to the Australian economy.

Mr Frydenberg said despite coral bleaching events in recent years, the Great Barrier Reef was "remarkably resilient" and it was important for the world to know that.

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