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Labor adds nothing to protecting the Great Barrier Reef

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Media Release

The Hon Greg Hunt MP Shadow Minister for Climate Action, Environment and Heritage

Friday 30 August 2013

Labor adds nothing to protecting the Great Barrier Reef

Labor has added nothing new to the protection of the Great Barrier Reef in its announcement today.

Labor’s Reef Plan is the third re-announcement of the same funding pool.

Under Labor’s watch the Great Barrier Reef has come under international scrutiny.

So it is disappointing that - for what is a very important environmental issue - Labor is offering nothing new and according to the breakdown of funding, is actually taking funds away from addressing a key issue.

There has been a reduction in funding for targeted programs to farmers to reduce the nutrient run-off which is linked to outbreaks of the Crown of Thorns.

It is the Crown of Thorns which is having more significant short-term impact. Any plan to protect the Reef must include that as a priority.

The Coalition will deliver both a short and long-term plan as part of Reef 2050.

We have already announced a $5 million Dugong and Protection Plan as part of our commitment to the Reef.

As part of this important environmental and marine conservation task, the Coalition will maintain existing funding and will provide an additional $5 million for dugong and turtle protection including:

• $2 million for specialised Indigenous Ranger Programs for marine conservation along the Far North Queensland Coast and for strengthened enforcement and compliance;

• $2 million for an Australian Crime Commission investigation into the practice of illegal killing, poaching and transportation of turtle and dugong meat; • $700,000 towards cleaning up marine debris along the Far North Queensland Coast, the Torres Strait Islands and in the Coral Sea; and • $300,000 to support the Cairns and Fitzroy Island Turtle Rehabilitation

Centres. The Coalition will allocate $100,000 per year to the Fitzroy Island Turtle Hospital - run by the Cairns Turtle Rehabilitation Centre - for three years, to help with capital works and to help the hospital achieve a permanent and sustainable future.

Media Contact: Wendy Black 0418 532 534