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Federal election 2022: Labor promises to save Great Barrier Reef

Labor says it will pour funding into saving the Great Barrier Reef from climate change if it wins the election, as the natural wonder faces being listed as “in danger” by the United Nations.

Indigenous rangers would be used for reef protection and Labor would work with the Queensland Government to scale up wetland restoration.

The ALP says it would put an extra $194.5 million into reef protection programs over the next four years, bringing total investment by 2030 to almost $1.2 billion.

A new native species protection program would also be established.

In January, Scott Morrison had pledged to spend a billion over the next decade for reef funding if he is re-elected.

Labor said their spend “matched” that funding.

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The promises come after the Government lobbied the UN to try and stop it from listing the reef as “in danger” and Environment Minister Sussan Ley was sent on a private jet to make Australia’s case to members of the world heritage committee.

UN delegates are continuing to inspect the reef and a recent report found 91 per cent of the areas of the reef surveyed by scientists had been affected by bleaching.

Coral bleaching is a heat stress response caused by global warming.

Anthony Albanese said climate change meant Australians were now fearful the reef would not be around for future to generations to enjoy.

“Parents and grandparents are worried their children will not be able to see this natural wonder for themselves,” he said.

“That’s why it’s so important we act on climate change and species protection.”

The Great Barrier Reef is in the marginal electorate of Leichhardt which is held by Liberal MP Warren Entsch but is being targeted by Labor.

A reef plan released by the Government last year was criticised by environmental groups who said it repeated inadequate commitments made by the PM to reduce emissions.

Despite campaigning against Labor’s net-zero emissions by 2050 target the 2019 election, the Coalition has since adopted the policy itself.

But its term emissions reduction is 26-28 per cent by 2030, below what climate scientists say is needed.

Labor’s target is 43 per cent reduction by 2030 which is more ambitious but still less than what environmentalists have called for.

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