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Aus govt announces funding to improve Great Barrier Reef water quality

Canberra, April 20 (IANS) The Australian government on Thursday announced funding for a new program to boost water quality on the Great Barrier Reef.

Tanya Plibersek, Minister for the Environment and Water, said the government will spend A$150 million ($100 million) repairing land in catchments that are dumping large amounts of sediment into rivers that flow into the iconic reef, reports Xinhua news agency.

Poor water quality is considered one of the biggest threats to the Great Barrier Reef, the world’s largest coral reef and one of Australia’s biggest tourism attractions.

However, it has deteriorated in recent years.

The Unesco in 2022 recommended that the reef be added to the list of endangered World Heritage sites, warning it is in peril without rapid and ambitious action.

Projects supported under Thursday’s funding announcement will include fencing, structural works to improve riverbanks, revegetation and grazing management of cattle.

Plibersek said that in addition to improving water quality on the reef, the projects would also restore local habitats and improve carbon sequestration.

“One of the most iconic things about the Great Barrier Reef is the crystal blue water that flows through it. Water so clear and perfect it’s like snorkelling through another world,” she said.

“But this iconic water and the Great Barrier Reef itself are under threat from sediment and other run-off that is spilling into it. Poor water quality stops coral from regrowing, kills important seagrass, and blocks the sunlight needed for a healthy reef.”

The funding is part of a A$1.2 billion spend on reef health previously announced by the Australian government.

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