PRESERVATION: An action campaign aims to raise funds to conserve the reef.
PRESERVATION: An action campaign aims to raise funds to conserve the reef. Claudia Alp

Saving the Great Barrier Reef with $400m fundraising plan

GLADSTONE will be the beneficiary of a multi-million-dollar fundraising plan for the Great Barrier Reef.

The Collaborative Investment Strategy campaign, launched by the Great Barrier Reef Foundation, seeks to raise up to $400million over the next six years, on top of the $443million contributed by the Federal Government.

Managing director Anna Marsden said the specifics of how the money would be used would be released later this year but local organisations in Gladstone would be in the frontline of delivering action.

"People across Gladstone and Central Queensland understand the urgency of saving the Great Barrier Reef," Ms Marsden said.

"They know the reef is one of the world's most extraordinary natural wonders and its role as a lifeblood for local tourism and economic activity."

Ms Marsden said local communities near the reef were passionate that something needed to be done about the health of a major tourist attraction.

"There is such a significant appetite and desire for these communities to get stuck in," she said.

"I know Gladstone would definitely be a community that will rise (to the occasion), and will play a pivotal role in helping us ensure that we can protect this icon."

 

Chairman of the Gladstone Local Marine Advisory Committee Karl French said the funding announcement was timely for the reef.

"We've had quite a lot of pressures on the reef over the last few years," he said.

"It's time for us to move beyond just monitoring but to actually look at involvement in rehabilitation and look at ways to enhance and protect the reef.

"Without it, we're going to lose one of the great jewels of not only Australia but the world."

Mr French predicted dire consequences if action wasn't take to save the environmental icon.

"In 30 years, we've lost 50 per cent coral cover over the entire length of the Great Barrier Reef," he said.

"I've seen nice areas of the reef but it's struggling in places.

"We would not only lose the impact from tourism and fishing but we would lose a lot of the services the reef offers that most people don't even register."

Services such as protection from storm surges, wave impacts and slowing down cyclonic events would disappear if the reef was damaged beyond repair.

 

General manager of Heron Island Resort Tony Barradale said he was delighted about the funding announcement.

"It vindicates our long-held view that the Southern Great Barrier Reef is one of the best places to visit and experience the Great Barrier Reef," he said.

"This fund will assist dramatically local employment and infrastructure as well as opening the region to the world.

"Resourcing for the Great Barrier Reef can never be enough but this funding is significant and to be applauded."

An action plan on how the money will be spent is due to be released at the end of the year.



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