The administration of Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull announced Sunday it is earmarking more than AU$500 million, or $379 million in US dollars, to protect the reef in partnership with the Great Barrier Reef Foundation.
"Our contribution, through the Great Barrier Reef Foundation, represents the single largest funding commitment ever for reef conservation and management in Australia's history", Josh Frydenberg, Australia's environment and energy minister, said in an op-ed that stressed that "the right plan and the right investment" will ensure the reef's survival.
"It is an investment not only in the future of the Great Barrier Reef, but also in Australian jobs and our economy through the tourists the Reef attracts every year".
"Science is well aware of what is killing coral on the Great Barrier Reef - it's the excess heat that comes from burning fossil fuels", said Bill McKibben, an American environmentalist, author and founder of 350.org, which aims to rapidly end the use of fossil fuels.
Frydenberg said he believed that the reef could overcome its many challenges with help. The opposition said the government could still fail to reach its target to reduce emissions 26 to 28 per cent on 2005 levels by 2030.
But in recent years, it has lost almost a third of its coral due to bleaching linked to rising sea temperatures and damage from crown-of-thorns starfish.
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Turnbull said part of the money would be used to mitigate the impact of climate change, but gave no details. "And we must unlock new scientific insights that can help restore the reefs that have suffered damage". "Climate change is the number one threat to the Great Barrier Reef and only concerted action to cut pollution will fully protect it".
"Today's major investment brings real solutions within our grasp".
"I have great optimism that together we will protect this awesome icon and all its brilliant biodiversity".
In a further breakdown of the $444 million, $201 million will go into improving water quality, $100 million will go into reef restoration science, $58 million to combat the crown-of-thorns starfish, and $45 million for community management and engagement. The remaining $40 million will be used to monitor reef health.
And the authority's future funding has also been secured with an additional $10 million each year from 2022-23 to continue and expand essential work across the World Heritage Area.