Over the next nine years, Australia will invest 1 billion Australian dollars in protecting the Great Barrier Reef. Australian Prime Minister Scott VVVV hopes this will prevent the coral reef from being placed on the UNESCO list of endangered world heritage, which would be bad news for tourism in the region.
The investment follows several billion-dollar investments Australia has made in the Great Barrier Reef in recent years.
“We are supporting reef health while supporting the economic future of tourists, hospitality entrepreneurs and local communities in Queensland,” Conservative Morrison said in a statement. However, he has done little to tackle climate change in recent years and is a proponent of fossil fuels and controversial coal mines.
Last year, Australia narrowly prevented the massive reef from being placed on the UNESCO list of endangered world heritage sites. The UN organization considered this because it believes Australia was doing too little to improve water quality and achieve climate goals to protect the coral.
Placement on the list of endangered world heritages would affect the local economy. For example, before the pandemic, the Great Barrier Reef attracted many tourists every year and provided thousands of jobs. Australia fears the tourists will stay away if the coral reef is placed on the list.
With extensive lobbying, the Australian government prevented the reef from being labelled a ‘World Heritage in Danger’. However, UNESCO will assess this again next year.