A researcher surveys coral on the Great Barrier Reef. Picture: AFP/James Cook University/Tane Sinclair-Taylor
A researcher surveys coral on the Great Barrier Reef. Picture: AFP/James Cook University/Tane Sinclair-Taylor

How controversial $443m Reef grant will be used

MORE than $40 million will be invested with indigenous conservationists and $200 million in water-quality programs to help save the Great Barrier Reef, under a controversial federal grant.

The Federal Government handed the Great Barrier Reef Foundation $443.3 million last April despite the charity never asking for it and not having any plans at the time about how to use it.

The foundation will today release its investment strategy for the funds, which will be directed to five key areas: water quality; Reef restoration and adaptation science; Crown-of-thorns Starfish control; integrated monitoring and reporting; and traditional owner and community Reef protection.

No specific projects have been identified.

The $42 million allocated to activities with traditional owners will help build on work already being done by more than 200 indigenous rangers and 70 sea country groups within the Reef's catchment.

GBRF managing director Anna Marsden said traditional owners had an enduring connection to the Reef and had been working to conserve it for generations.

"This announcement will ensure that a strategic plan of action can be co-developed with traditional owners, building on and scaling up existing activities which include tagging turtles, cleaning beaches, monitoring the health of waterways and remediating land and sea country along the Reef," she said

The GBRF has previously announced plans to raise an extra $300 million-$400 million from donations.

In its strategy document, the foundation said damage to the Reef was "a challenge for us to solve now".

"The collapse of the Great Barrier Reef would not only have a terrible environmental and economic consequence on this country - it would be a permanent scar on the Australian psyche," it says.



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