21/22 Budget to regenerate reef, land and create QLD jobs

JOINT STATEMENT

The Palaszczuk Government will invest close to $330 million in its upcoming budget to continue protecting the Great Barrier Reef, regenerate land, support tourism and create jobs as part of its economic recovery plan.

The multi-million dollar injection into Queensland’s environment will build on the $400 million already invested by the government in the world heritage-listed reef since 2015 and open up a second round of funding for its Australian-first Land Restoration Fund.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said her government backed the reef, backed the land and backed the thousands of jobs and industries that rely on a healthy environment.

“Making sure our environment thrives goes hand-in-hand with creating jobs as part of our plan for economic recovery from COVID-19. You simply can’t have one without the other. A healthy reef means more tourists and more tourists means more jobs,” the Premier said.

“My government will invest $270 million to continue successful Reef Water Quality Improvement programs from the Far North to Wide Bay and our commitment to protecting the Great Barrier Reef.

“We will also invest $60 million for round two of the Land Restoration Fund after we saw 18 projects in round one restore thousands of hectares of land and successfully stop 1.9 million tonnes of CO2 from entering our atmosphere, while also creating new jobs and training opportunities right across our state.”

“That’s more than $700 million we’ve invested to protect the Great Barrier Reef since 2015.”

Deputy Premier Steven Miles said the biggest threats to our reef and the environment are water quality and greenhouse gas emissions – which is why the government is making these significant investments.

Mr Miles said the announcement follows the launch of the Palaszczuk Government’s $3.34 billion Queensland Jobs Fund, encouraging investment in job-creating industries like renewable energy and resource recovery.

“Our $500 million Land Restoration Fund will be boosted by a new Natural Capital Fund that will allow industry, business and farmers to partner and co-invest in more regenerative projects for Queensland,” Mr Miles said.

“We’re also allocating seed funding towards the Natural Capital Fund, which will help with greenhouse gas reduction, capture carbon in soil and native forest renewal, while ensuring greater job opportunities in regional Queensland.

“Investing in protecting our reef and environment is part of our Government’s economic plan, creating jobs and supporting key industries.”

Treasurer Cameron Dick said by investing in a stronger, greener and more resilient Queensland, the government was creating more jobs for Queenslanders.

“The Palaszczuk Government has a proud record when it comes to investing in Queensland jobs, backing industry and protecting our precious natural environment,” Mr Dick said.

“We understand you can’t have a healthy economy without a healthy state, and that runs through everything, from our people and animals to the land, reef and ocean.

“This budget will ensure we can keep delivering on our election commitments and pushing ahead with Queensland’s economic recovery plan.

“It’s going to make sure our state remains an attractive destination for investment and industry growth.”

Minister for Environment and the Greater Barrier Reef Meaghan Scanlon said with an additional quarter-of-a-billion dollars to be spent on the Great Barrier Reef, the Palaszczuk Government would be able to put the pedal to the metal on ongoing work with industries like tourism and agriculture in developing more profitable and sustainable businesses while also protecting the reef.

“Queensland is the gateway to the Great Barrier Reef, and with it supporting a $6 billion economy and 60,000 jobs, it’s a key driver of the Palaszczuk Government’s plan for economic recovery,” Minister Scanlon said.

“We know that protecting this world heritage-listed treasure supports our tourism industry, jobs and economic recovery from the northern reaches of our state to regions like Bundaberg and Gladstone.

“An economic recovery thanks in large part because of the way Queenslanders continue to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic and the state’s strong health response.

“Our increased expenditure in the reef and the Land Restoration Fund will help spark Queensland’s economic recovery while also ensuring our native fauna and flora, and our cultural heritage will be preserved and enhanced for the generations to come.”

Member for Cairns Michael Healy said investing in the health of the reef would support Far North Queensland’s tourism operators who showcase the region’s nature to thousands of visitors every year.

“We’ve worked very closely with tourism operators to support their recovery from COVID-19. With international borders still closed, we’ve helped them with fee relief, tourism vouchers to attract more domestics visitors and today we’re making sure the reef can continue to be a jewel in Australia’s tourism crown,” Mr Healy said.

Minister Scanlon said more funding would be announced in Tuesday’s budget for environmental initiatives in waste, national parks, resource recovery and wildlife.

“We went to the election with a plan for economic recovery and a strong platform to protect our environment and create jobs – and we’re backing Queenslanders by delivering a strong budget that will regenerate our reef, land and Queensland jobs,” Minister Scanlon said.

/Public Release. This material comes from the originating organization and may be of a point-in-time nature, edited for clarity, style and length. View in full here.