A Senate committee examining the Federal Government’s decision to award $444 million to the Great Barrier Reef Foundation has found the money won’t be used to effectively tackle climate change.
Rather, the committee found it “will only address the symptoms devastating the Reef, at best.”
“The committee has recommended the Federal Government takes steps to address and effectively tackle climate change as an underlying cause of economic, social and environmental damage to the Reef. We support that recommendation,” said the Climate Council’s acting CEO, Dr Martin Rice, who addressed the inquiry in July 2018.
The Federal Government announced the massive package in April 2018 to tackle water quality issues, such as agricultural runoff as well as the culling of the crown-of-thorns starfish.
“The Great Barrier Reef Partnership Program is completely missing the mark. This funding will only be effective if the Federal Government simultaneously commits to tackling climate change, the root cause of mass coral bleaching and reef mortality,” said Dr Rice.
“The reality is, Australia’s greenhouse gas pollution has continued to rise for four years in a row and these water quality measures are nothing more than band-aid solutions unless we tackle climate change,” he said.
“The future survival of coral reefs around the world, including the Great Barrier Reef, depends on how deeply and swiftly greenhouse gas pollution levels are slashed over the coming years and decades. We can do this through the transition to clean, affordable and reliable renewable energy and storage technology,” said Dr Rice.
“This is not just an environmental issue. Without adequate protection from further coral bleaching, Australia’s multi-billion dollar tourism sector, along with more than 64,000 jobs are at risk,” he said.
“The Federal Government has no credible climate policy in place as emissions continue to rise, placing the iconic Great Barrier Reef at risk,” he said.
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