Entsch says government fully committed to helping the Reef
Federal Leichhardt MP and Special Envoy for the Great Barrier Reef, Warren Entsch, said people should not despair after the Reef’s health outlook was downgraded to ‘very poor’ last week.
Mr Entsch said he agrees with the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority’s assessment that global climate change is the most significant challenge for the Reef in coming years.
However, he said there were positives in the report that should be focused on as well as the overall health outlook.
“We are making significant inroads, as a government, in a number of areas,” he said.
“Yes, we have to focus on the challenges and the negatives of it, but we also have to have a look of where we are going and things we are doing.”
He said Australia’s commitment to the targets of the Paris Agreement show the federal government is taking the issues identified in the report very seriously.
As part of the Paris Agreement Australia has set a target to reduce emissions by 26-28 per cent below 2005 levels by 2030 in a effort to reduce global warming.
“We will meet our Paris Agreement commitments and we are on track to do so,” he said.
“If we look at the investment the Australian Government has made across the spectrum on climate change and reef related issues, we are spending double that of countries like the UK and Germany we are often compared to.”
The report also recognised the improved water runoff quality but criticised water quality improvement schemes as not working fast enough.
Mr Entsch defended the government-funded programs to improve the water quality running into the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park.
“The report said we need to accelerate our actions in the catchments and I have no doubt we will,” he said.
“There is more money to be spent and there is a hell of a lot of money going through to communities to help in these areas.
“I think we all in government, have an obligation to improve that outlook and while we can’t do much to do the global climate change, we can help to lift and influence the health of the Reef and I’m confident we can do that.”
The full Outlook Report is available on the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority website.
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