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PolicyCheck: What are the parties really offering to save the Great Barrier Reef?

John Brodie writes in The Conversation (21.6.16) about the major parties’ policy offerings and funding promises to date regarding protection of the Great Barrier Reef.

‘The Great Barrier Reef has become a major issue in the federal election campaign, with the stakes raised by the most severe bleaching ever documented and suggestions that the next few years will be our last chance to avert major damage to this World Heritage-listed icon.

‘Last week, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and federal environment minister Greg Hunt announced a further commitment of up to A$1 billion over ten years, from an existing A$10 billion “special account” administered by the Clean Energy Finance Corporation.

‘Turnbull said that this new Reef Fund will provide loans to finance more energy- and water-efficient irrigation systems on farms, as well as improved pesticide and fertiliser application systems.

‘ … Without stronger regulation (which only the Greens are suggesting) and considerably more funding than any of the main parties is yet willing to provide – not to mention stronger action on emissions reductions throughout the economy – none of these policies promises a particularly rosy future for the Great Barrier Reef.’

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