Major political parties refuse to back Reef Rescue motion

An aeriel view of Hardy Reef, Great Barrier Reef.
An aeriel view of Hardy Reef, Great Barrier Reef. Videos Downunder

THE $200 million Commonwealth Government Reef Rescue program could be on the rocks, after both major parties refused to back a motion to guarantee the program will run for the next five years.

The five-year program saw more than $200 million spent to back natural resource management groups and farmers to work together to cut chemical run-off on the Great Barrier Reef.

On the ground in Queensland, the program funded numerous basic projects such as fencing waterways and riparian zones for cattle producers and provided other benefits for other sectors.

But a motion from Greens Senator Larissa Waters calling on the Senate to back the program for another five years failed to get legs in the chamber on Wednesday.

While part of the motion was based on the re-instatement of the program, another part also asked the Senate to note a recent Australian Institute of Marine Science report on damage to the reef.

Neither Labor nor Coalition Senators would vote for the motion to go ahead.

While the program was officially wound up earlier this year, a review was conducted of its parent program, Caring for our Country.

That review noted funding would be "continued for regional natural resource management organisations" and the government would "develop the details of funding mechanisms following consultations".

The Environment budget committed more than $75 million to the program, of a total $2 billion listed as "committed".

But detailed notes revealed that budget measure "also includes funding transferred to the Department of the Treasury to enable payments required under the Federal Financial Relations Act 2009".

Topics:  australian government coalition environment funding great barrier reef greens labor larissa waters reef rescue

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