$40 million will be invested in Budget 2020-21 to protect the Great Barrier Reef and other natural assets throughout the state by the Palaszczuk Government.
The landmark investments will protect our natural wonders while boosting Queensland tourism and related industries, supporting more than 200 jobs.
The funding will support:
- An innovative $10 million Reef Credits initiative to drive on-ground restoration and environmental market development projects
- A $10 million Reef Assist program working with local councils and organisations
- A new $6 million Great Barrier Reef Island Arks program to deliver ecotourism and acquire new protected areas
- $3.9 million to develop world-class ‘sailing trails’ around Townsville and the Whitsundays; and
- $10.1 million for upgrades to National Parks and World Heritage Areas, including:
- a cultural tourism centre with camping and a bush tucker tour on K’gari (Fraser Island)
- campground and walking track upgrades in the Sunshine Coast hinterland
- a new cultural interpretation centre and tourism offerings with Traditional Owners in Southern Queensland’s Gondwana Rainforest
- a tourism hub and visitor centre in the Daintree National Park
Minister for Environment and the Great Barrier Reef Meaghan Scanlon said that the environment and the economy went hand in hand.
“Our ongoing plan for economic recovery and job creation, following our strong health response to COVID-19, includes protecting the Great Barrier Reef and the employment that it provides,” Ms Scanlon said.
“The Reef is an icon of Queensland’s natural beauty and importantly, contributes around $6 billion to the economy annually, supporting around 60,000 jobs.
“We know that farmers are dedicated to good environmental management and our $10 million Reef Credits initiative will help them to partner with us to improve the quality of water flowing onto the Reef.
“Our projects supporting ecotourism, including the upgrades to our National Parks and World Heritage Areas, are a direct investment in jobs and will drive important regional tourism and business opportunities.”
Ms Scanlon said the $10.1 million in upgrades would include
- $7.3 million to improve nature-based visitor experiences; and
- $2.8 million for World Heritage Area site improvements.
“This work will benefit Queenslanders who love to visit our spectacular national parks and provide more work for local tradies,” Ms Scanlon said.
The Reef funding builds on more than $400 million committed by the Palaszczuk Government since 2015.
“That investment is a sign of the importance of the Reef to Queenslanders, Australians, and the thousands of people whose jobs rely on it being healthy and resilient,” Ms Scanlon said.
“The Reef Credits initiative will help to improve water quality, while also providing new ways to value natural capital and monetise good environmental management.”