Department of the Environment

Archived media releases and speeches

The Hon Tony Burke MP

Minister for Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities

Next generation water quality forecasting for the Great Barrier Reef

Media release
14 November 2012

The Great Barrier Reef will be put under the microscope with a new project to gather better environmental information.

Environment Minister, Tony Burke, joined project partners at Townsville's ReefHQ today to take part in a demonstration of eReefs a collaborative project to help protect and preserve the iconic Great Barrier Reef.

"The eReefs project will expand its role into environmental information, delivering visual marine monitoring tools through its website to assist researchers and marine managers in caring for the Great Barrier Reef," Mr Burke said.

"The Great Barrier Reef, like all coral reef ecosystems around the world, is at risk from a range of threats including coastal development, climate change, floods, cyclones and land run-off.

"Timely access to sea surface temperatures and water quality information is essential for researchers and marine managers in maintaining a healthy reef ecosystem.

"The eReefs Project will provide vital tools for decision making and communication spanning the entire Reef spectrum from catchment to ocean."

This project is part of the new generation of environmental intelligence products and services offered under the framework of the Gillard Government's National Plan for Environmental Information.

The initiative is jointly led by the Bureau of Meteorology and the Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities.

The Gillard Government continues to invest significantly to monitor and protect the reef, and increase its resilience in the long term, while allowing sustainable use.

The Reef remains one of the world's greatest natural wonders and this vast area of more than 340,000 square kilometres offers a wide range of high quality, exciting and varied tourism experiences.

The Gillard Government is committed to ensuring the best possible protection and management for this internationally renowned tourism hot spot which has millions of visitors each year.

eReefs brings together corporate Australia through the Great Barrier Reef Foundation and its partner BHP Billiton Mitsubishi Alliance; Australia's leading operational and research agencies in the Bureau of Meteorology, CSIRO, and the Australian Institute of Marine Science; the Australian and Queensland Governments as well as the Science and Industry Endowment Fund and the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority.

For more information about the eReefs project, visit www.bom.gov.au/environment.