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Minister for the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts 2001-2004

The Hon Dr David Kemp, MP



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Media Release
Federal Minister for the Environment and Heritage
Dr David Kemp

11 May 2004

$176.4 million Australian Government investment to protect the Reef

The Howard Government will invest $176.4 million for the protection of the Great Barrier Reef over the next four years the Minister for the Environment and Heritage, Dr David Kemp, said today.

"This includes an additional $30.3 million over the next three years to support the introduction of the new Great Barrier Reef Zoning Plan under the Representative Areas Programme.

"New funding in the 2004-05 Budget includes $8.8 million for Enforcement and Compliance Activities within boundaries of the 'No-Take' Zones of the expanded areas for protection, while an additional $4.4 million will be spent educating the community about the new arrangements."

On 1 July 2004, a new Zoning Plan for the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park will come into force increasing the level of high protection zones from 4.5 per cent to 33.3 per cent. This makes it the largest network of protected marine areas in the world.

"These funds will help develop essential information for the public, tourists and industry on the newly protected areas of the Reef," said Dr Kemp.

The Howard Government is also committing $6 million over three years to the Water Quality Monitoring Programme, which will support monitoring work being undertaken through the Reef Water Quality Protection Plan (Reef Plan) announced by the Howard and Queensland Governments last year.

"This new $6 million Water Quality Monitoring Program will complement the Reef Plan, which aims to arrest the damage caused by pollutants entering the Reef lagoon. The Program will report on the Reef as a whole to help ensure the long-term health of its marine life," Dr Kemp said.

Part of the Great Barrier Reef Representatives Areas Program, the new Zoning Plan was based on extensive community consultations over two years with over 31,000 submissions received from individuals, community groups and industry bodies. A Structural Adjustment Package, in the order of $10.2 million, will assist displaced fishers and others.

Dr Kemp also said that $900,000 had been allocated for tourism operators to assist in the fight against the Crown of Thorns Starfish, an invasive marine species that preys on living coral in this World Heritage area.

"Over the last two and a half years, the Howard Government has committed $2.5 million to help preserve the Reef from this predator," Dr Kemp said.

Commonwealth of Australia