Protecting the Great Barrier Reef and Securing Reef Jobs

  • The Morrison Government’s inaction has put the Reef at risk of an “In Danger” listing from the World Heritage Committee.
  • Securing the future of the Reef means investing in restoration and preservation and taking real action on climate change.
  • Labor will invest almost $1.2 billion in reef preservation and restoration by 2030. We will protect the Reef and the 64,000 jobs that rely on it – through climate action, catchment restoration, and protecting the Reef’s threatened species.

Why we need this

The Great Barrier Reef is under threat from inaction on climate change and neglect by the Morrison Government. The next generation deserves to enjoy the Reef, just like generations before. But right now, 90 percent of it has been bleached by warming ocean temperatures.

The Reef has undergone four mass bleaching events in the last six years. And for the third time in seven years the World Heritage Committee is considering listing the Reef as “in danger”. Unless we act on climate change, and invest in preservation and restoration, the 64,000 jobs that rely on the Reef will be at risk.  

Reef scientists say Australia needs to scale up its climate, water quality and other reef management programs to prevent further risk.

Protecting the Reef means climate and energy policy leadership, restoring Reef catchments and recovering the Reef’s threatened species. 

The details

Delivering climate and energy policy leadership

An Albanese Government will address the Reef’s number one threat, climate change – by delivering our Powering Australia commitment to:

  • Create jobs, cut power bills and reduce emissions by boosting renewable energy.
  • Reducing emissions by 43% by 2030, much more than the Morrison Government’s 26-28%. 

We will deliver an additional $194.5 million in reef protection programs over the forward estimates, on top of existing programs. This will bring total investment by 2030 to almost $1.2 billion. Labor will:

  • Work with farmers on more efficient fertiliser use, fence paddocks, boost precision agriculture, install real-time water quality sensors, and create on-farm and land restoration jobs.
  • Invest an additional $85 million over the forward estimates for shovel ready catchment and reef restoration projects.
  • Protect turtles, dugongs and dolphins from threats including plastic pollution, egg predation, illegal poaching and accidental take, as well as work with the fishing industry to ensure a sustainable fishing sector.
  • Protect key coral reefs and tourism sites by expanding Crown of Thorns culling programs.
  • Advance research into thermal tolerant corals to help climate adaption, in partnership with the Australian Institute of Marine Science.
  • Provide an additional one-off grant of $15 million for the Coastal and Marine Ecosystems Research Centre at CQ University in Gladstone, to boost local research.
  • Continue and double funding for the Reef 2050 Plan, which currently ends in mid-2023, with an additional $94.5 million over the forward estimates.

Indigenous rangers will play a lead role in reef preservation – with Labor ensuring an allocation of at least $100 million of protection and restoration work to Indigenous ranger organisations by the end of the decade.