Australian PM Malcolm Turnbull pledges $1 billion to save the Great Barrier Reef

Australian PM Malcolm Turnbull pledges $1 billion to save the Great Barrier Reef

Australian PM Malcolm Turnbull pledges $1 billion to save the Great Barrier Reef

Written by Staff Writer

13 Jun, 2016 | 4:08 pm

Australia’s Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull on Monday (June 13) pledged $1 billion in assistance for the ailing Great Barrier Reef if his government is re-elected in July.

Speaking in Townsville in North Queensland, Turnbull said if his government is returned to power after the July 2 election he would instruct Australia’s Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC) to redirect $1 billion of it $10 billion fund towards a loans scheme aimed at reducing agricultural and waste water run-off that is diminishing the reef’s ability to withstand rising sea temperatures.

Pollution from water-borne fertiliser and nutrient-rich run-off limits the ability of corals to withstand higher sea temperatures associated with cyclical El Nino weather events and global warming.

In recent months the northern half of the great barrier reef suffered one of its worst coral bleaching events.

At least 35 per cent of the northern and central parts of the reef showed evidence of severe bleaching as high sea water temperatures forced corals to expel the symbiotic algae they rely on for their food source.

Algae is expelled when corals are under stress. This can be brought on by high sea water temperatures, low salinity associated with coastal flooding or pollution from nutrient-rich waste water and run-off contaminated with fertilisers from agricultural activities.

Without the algae, the transparent coral organism is exposed and the corals’ white external skeleton becomes visible, giving the impression coral has been bleached.

Scientists are unsure how much of the damaged swathes of the reef will regenerate as the onset of winter brings cooler temperatures.

Source : Reuters  

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