By Anthony Albanese, Annastacia Palaszczuk, Terri Butler, Elida Faith

13 May 2022

The Great Barrier Reef is under immediate threat from inaction on climate change and the neglect of Scott Morrison. The next generation deserves to enjoy the Reef as generations before them did, but right now 90 percent of it has been bleached by warming ocean temperatures.

The Morrison Government has failed to act to save native species and neglected the Great Barrer Reef, leaving it once again at risk of being listed by the World Heritage Committee as “in danger”.

An Albanese Labor Government will not engage in political games and instead will work in partnership with the Queensland State Government, experts, First Nations communities, businesses and landholders to protect the 64,000 jobs that rely on the Reef.

We will deliver an additional $194.5 million in reef protection programs over the forward estimates, on top of existing programs this will bring total investment by 2030 to almost $1.2 billion. Labor will:

  • Work with farmers on more efficient fertiliser use, and to fence paddocks, boost precision agriculture, install real-time water quality sensors, and create on-farm jobs.
  • Invest an additional $85 million over the forward estimates for shovel ready catchment and reef restoration projects.
  • Work with the Queensland Government and industry to scale up gully and wetland restoration, including consideration of matching funding for projects under the Queensland Land Restoration Fund.
  • Protect turtles, dugongs and dolphins from threats including plastic pollution, egg predation, illegal poaching and accidental take, as well as work with industry to ensure a sustainable fishing sector.
  • Protect key coral reefs and tourism sites by expanding Crown of Thorns culling programs.
  • Advance research into thermal tolerant corals to help climate adaption, in partnership with the Australian Institute of Marine Science
  • Provide an additional one-off grant of $15 million for the Coastal and Marine Ecosystems Research Centre at CQ University in Gladstone, to boost local research.
  • Continue and double funding for the Reef 2050 Plan, which currently ends in mid-2023, with an additional $94.5 million over the forward estimates.


Indigenous rangers will play a lead role in reef preservation – with Labor ensuring an allocation of at least $100 million for protection and restoration work with Indigenous ranger organisations by the end of the decade.

Native Species Protection

The koala is now officially listed as endangered in many areas. There are also more than 200 outstanding recovery plans for species, which are required by law, that have not been delivered by Scott Morrison.

Labor will establish a Saving Native Species program. This investment of $224.5 million over the forward estimates will: 

  • Work with states and territories on a national conservation strategy.
  • Expand koala hospitals and services and invest in koala chlamydia vaccines and fertility projects.
  • Boost protection for native species and combat invasive species including by investing:
    • $24.8 million to fight Yellow Crazy Ants in Cairns and Townsville.
    • $24.5 million for koala conservation programs

1,000 Landcare Rangers

To restore and protect our natural environment, Labor will deliver up to 1,000 full time equivalent Landcare Rangers across the country.

Landcare Rangers will work with local Landcare and Natural Resource Management groups on practical restoration and conservation projects. Locals will also get TAFE qualifications through Labor’s investment in Fee Free TAFE.

This investment in Landcare Rangers will be $75 million over the forward estimates.

Comments from Anthony Albanese:

Seeing the wonder of the Great Barrier Reef is a highlight for so many Australians.

But parents and grandparents are worried their children will not be able to see this incredible natural wonder for themselves.

That’s why it’s so important we act on climate change and species protection – to protect the reef and the tens of thousands of jobs that rely on it.

Comments from Terri Butler:

Our children should not be learning about koalas – and our Australian wildlife – in history books.

It’s so important that we act on climate change, invasive species and habitat restoration.

Comments from Elida Faith:

The reef is such an important part of Far North Queensland – there are so many businesses and jobs that rely on a healthy reef.

Unlike Scott Morrison, Labor will take action on climate change seriously and invest more in protecting the reef and work with landholders to improve water quality.