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Mass coral bleaching forces review of reef protection plan

Tony Moore reports in the Brisbane Times (20.7.18) on the release of an updated government sustainability plan for managing the Great Barrier Reef, revised after damaging cyclones and climate change effects have further eroded the reef’s coral cover.

‘An urgently revised plan to protect the Great Barrier Reef has been bought forward following evidence of damage from the back-to-back coral bleaching incidents in 2016 and 2017.

‘The Australian and Queensland governments have on Friday released the 2018 mid-term review of their long-term 2050 Reef Plan, after studies in 2017 confirmed serious damage to the reef from climate change.

‘“The unprecedented instance of back-to-back mass bleaching events shows that climate change is already having impacts on the reef and clearly underlines the importance of urgent action to build the Reef’s resilience and maintain its functionality,” the report says.

‘… The report identifies four climate change trajectories to try to keep ocean temperature warming below 2 degrees to prevent coral bleaching.’

‘Insufficient’: Queensland government savages reef deal

Nicole Hasham reports in the Sydney Morning Herald (12.7.18) on details of a ‘secretive’ arrangement struck by Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull to award a large grant to a little-known foundation for reef conservation activities.

‘The Queensland government has lashed an “unprecedented” decision by the Commonwealth to award $444 million in Great Barrier Reef funding to a private organisation, saying it was blindsided by the announcement and the money will not save the reef unless climate change is also curbed.

‘Fairfax Media has also confirmed the Great Barrier Reef Foundation will pocket a slice of the record funding, triggering claims the Turnbull government is wasting money that should be spent saving the ailing natural wonder.

‘But the foundation says its share of the millions will be capped to maximise the amount spent on the reef.

‘In a surprise announcement in April the Turnbull government announced it would gift $444 million – Australia’s largest single reef funding commitment – to the tiny business-focused foundation. The government did not run a tender process or give other organisations, including its own marine science or reef agencies, opportunity to apply.’

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