Locals applaude PM’s reef funding

In Attractions, Australian Domestic Tourism, Featured Home Page News, Queensland
Scott Morrison

The Prime Ministers’ announcement of a federal government investment of $1b to protect the Great Barrier Reef and support the 64,000 workers is being applauded by local tourism operators in FNQ.

The funding announced for the Great Barrier Reef on Friday will help improve conditions for Cairn’s reef tourism operators, who have weathered the storm for the past two years, with coronavirus, government-imposed restrictions and border closures, and now Covid-19 contact tracing and quarantine rules

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from cairns post 31.1.22

A CAIRNS tourism operator has applauded Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s announcement of a federal government investment of $1b to protect the Great Barrier Reef and support the 64,000 workers who drive the Reef economy.

But a scientist said unless the federal government cuts emissions, the funding is akin to “putting a Band-Aid on a broken leg.”

Ocean Free and Ocean Freedom owner-operator Perry Jones who with his wife Taryn Agius has seen his staff drop from 34 to 12 since the pandemic, said the funding is welcome, “but needed right now.”

The $1 billion in federal government funding announced for the Great Barrier Reef on Friday will help improve conditions for Cairn's reef tourism operators, who have weathered the storm for the past two years, with coronavirus, government imposed restrictions and border closures, and now Covid-19 contact tracing and quarantine rules. Owners of Ocean Freedom and Ocean Free Perry Jones and Taryn Agius have welcome the funding announcement and would like to see local operators benefit. Picture: Brendan Radke

The $1 billion in federal government funding announced for the Great Barrier Reef on Friday will help improve conditions for Cairn’s reef tourism operators, who have weathered the storm for the past two years, with coronavirus, government imposed restrictions and border closures, and now Covid-19 contact tracing and quarantine rules. Owners of Ocean Freedom and Ocean Free Perry Jones and Taryn Agius have welcome the funding announcement and would like to see local operators benefit. Picture: Brendan Radke

He said $15m of the funding would be through Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority (GBRMPA) and will flow on to businesses such as his via marine science projects, climate adaptation technology, water quality programs and on-water management practices to protect distinct species and reduce threats from crown of thorns starfish and illegal fishing will benefit businesses,

“We are very grateful to be working with the GBRMPA as they now have $15m which is going into reef repatriation studies and reef monitoring and this will allow us to keep our crew,” he said.

“It will be an amazing injection to the Cairns economy, but we need it now.

“The next two months will very, very hard, we had a pretty good Christmas but we expect it will be very quiet until the international borders open in April.”

The $1 billion in federal government funding announced for the Great Barrier Reef on Friday will help improve conditions for Cairn's reef tourism operators, who have weathered the storm for the past two years, with coronavirus, government imposed restrictions and border closures, and now Covid-19 contact tracing and quarantine rules. Owners of Ocean Freedom and Ocean Free Taryn Agius and Perry Jones have welcome the funding announcement and would like to see local operators benefit. Picture: Brendan Radke

The $1 billion in federal government funding announced for the Great Barrier Reef on Friday will help improve conditions for Cairn’s reef tourism operators, who have weathered the storm for the past two years, with coronavirus, government imposed restrictions and border closures, and now Covid-19 contact tracing and quarantine rules. Owners of Ocean Freedom and Ocean Free Taryn Agius and Perry Jones have welcome the funding announcement and would like to see local operators benefit. Picture: Brendan Radke

Climate Councillor, climate scientist and Distinguished Professor of Biology at Macquarie University, Professor Lesley Hughes said unless emissions are cut, “it’s like using a bunch of Band-Aids to try and mend a broken leg”.

“Handing out cash for the Great Barrier Reef with one hand, while funding the very industry – fossil fuels – that’s driving devastating climate impacts like marine heatwaves and coral bleaching, means they are adding to the very problem they are claiming they want to fix,” Prof Hughes said.

Deputy Premier Steven Miles said he felt the Prime Minister’s visit was grandstanding.

“People in Cairns always know when there’s an election around the corner because the Prime Minister shows up and starts talking about the Great Barrier Reef,” he said.

“I think people will be pretty cynical about this announcement.

“It’s a shame that he couldn’t have made this announcement when we asked him to while the World Heritage Committee was considering the endangered status of the Great Barrier Reef.”

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