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11 May 2010
The Rudd Government will invest an additional $20.1 million to protect our unique reefs and oceans through marine planning and conservation measures, Environment Protection Minister Peter Garrett said today.
Mr Garrett said the Government was providing an extra $12.0 million over two years to the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority to help strengthen the resilience of the Great Barrier Reef.
"The Great Barrier Reef is one of the world's great natural wonders and as this important funding boost demonstrates, the Government is dedicated to its long-term protection and conservation," Mr Garrett said.
"We are committing an additional $4.2 million over two years to the Authority to help ensure the long-term protection, ecologically sustainable use and enjoyment of the Great Barrier Reef for all Australians and the international community.
"The Government is also committing $3.8 million over two years to expand the highly successful Reef Guardian program. This program already has 180 schools and 10 councils across Queensland committed to a range of environmental activities as guardians of the Reef.
"The Government will also invest $4.0 million over two years in the National Education Centre for the Great Barrier Reef, Reef HQ Aquarium, in Townsville to repair and upgrade critical infrastructure. This is an important investment in the Townsville region to ensure that the GBRMPA can continue showcasing all the Reef has to offer."
Beyond the Reef, Mr Garrett said the Australian Government is also investing an additional $8.1 million in 2010-11 into marine bioregional planning right around the Australian coastline in the Budget.
"This injection of funds will allow the continuation of the unprecedented effort currently underway to assess the unique economic and environmental values of the Commonwealth marine environment," Mr Garrett said.
"Marine bioregional plans are being developed in consultation with the fishing, petroleum and other industries, recreational fishers, conservation groups and other stakeholders and will provide Australians with certainty on the protection, conservation and the sustainable use of our oceans for generations to come."
Mr Garrett said the funding will help complete marine bioregional planning in all marine regions around Australia. It will also enable the initial implementation of the plans, including the start of the process for declaring networks of new Commonwealth marine reserves.
For more information on protecting Australia's Great Barrier Reef and safeguarding our marine biodiversity visit www.environment.gov.au