Great Barrier Reef investment needs to match long-term needs
Queensland Tourism Industry Council (QTIC), the state’s peak industry body, has urged governments at all levels to increase the committed funding investment to implement the Reef 2050 Plan and combat environmental threats affecting Queensland’s $23 billion tourism industry.
This week, Bill Shorten and Malcolm Turnbull both made commitments to allocate millions of dollars towards saving the Great Barrier Reef, following consistent warnings by scientists and the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority that climate change poses significant risks to the Reef.
QTIC Chief Executive Daniel Gschwind said the consequences of insufficient funding could be disastrous for the future of Queensland’s iconic Great Barrier Reef.
“The reef is an iconic natural asset, valued by all Australians, and it is also a major economic asset, supporting the tourism industry which is one of the most vibrant economic sectors of Australia’s economy,” Mr Gschwind said.
“The Great Barrier Reef needs a reliable funding commitment to put into practice the Reef 2050 Plan - Australia’s own response to UNESCO’s concerns about the future of the reef.
“The government’s own Water Quality Taskforce has signalled the urgency of a significantly increased allocation of funding.
“We ask current and future governments to commit a higher level of funding for the Great Barrier Reef that is equal to the level of importance for this serious issue.
“All parties agree that the plan presents a credible strategy to address key threats to the reef, particularly water quality issues, however, the success of any of the proposed strategies depends on funding far in excess of what has so far been committed.”
Mr Gschwind said more than 64,000 jobs in Queensland depend on visitation to the Great Barrier Reef, with coastal communities benefiting from almost $6 billion worth of visitor expenditure every year.
“It must be a priority for all governments to make the necessary investment to protect the jobs and incomes of those who rely on tourism associated with the Great Barrier Reef.
“With so much focus on the competitiveness of our natural attractions as a driver of future tourism opportunities, this necessary expenditure is an investment that will yield rich returns for Australia.”
Tourism contributes $23 billion in expenditure to the Queensland economy and employs more than 230,000 people.
QTIC is the peak industry body for tourism in Queensland, acting as “The Voice of Tourism”. QTIC is a private sector, membership-based organisation which, since 2001, has worked to influence and shape the state’s tourism business environment.
Daniel Gschwind, Chief Executive, (07) 3236 1445 / 0419 219 795 / Daniel.Gschwind@qtic.com.au
Joanna Atzori, Communications Manager, (07) 3236 1445 / 0403 730 909 / Joanna.Atzori@qtic.com.au