More funds to protect Great Barrier Reef under both parties

MORE money will be poured into tackling the crown of thorns starfish and sediment run-off under both major parties' Great Barrier Reef policies.

But The Greens argue neither party heeded the warnings of the World Heritage Committee about increasing industrial projects near the reef.

The release of all parties' policies in recent days also follows research revealing sediment flows from dredging and floods could be larger then previously thought.

Labor Environment Minister Mark Butler on Tuesday released the party's reef policy, promising $12.6 million to reduce nutrient run-off, water quality and the starfish.

He said poor water quality and run-off, particularly nutrients such as nitrogen flowing into the reef, were one of the most significant threats to the reef.

The Labor pledge also comes after the party last week announced some of its $200 million for reef rescue initiatives would go towards similar initiatives.

Under the Coalition policy also focussed on the same issues, offering $40 million for a "reef trust" which will also include a dugong and turtle protection plan.

While both policies have been welcomed as helping to address some of the problems on the reef, the potential impact of new dredging and port development projects near the reef did not rate a mention.

A statement from Mr Butler said the government had initiated a strategic assessment of all threats to the reef, as ordered by the World Heritage Committee, but the policy did not include any new resources for such work.

Similarly, the Coalition policy promises to "reprioritise reef rescue funding" to the starfish, but does not outline increased investment for research of the effect of new port developments on the reef.

The Greens reef spokeswoman Senator Larissa Waters said both parties wanted the potential effects of such projects "swept under the carpet".

She said the major parties were hoping "the issue will simply go away", while the minor party had promised $176 million for the reef, including for new research by the reef marine park authority.



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