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Update on the Great Barrier Reef

May 26, 2021

Hon. MAJ SCANLON (Gaven—ALP) (Minister for the Environment and the Great Barrier Reef
and Minister for Science and Youth Affairs) (10.11 am): Queensland is the gateway to the Great Barrier
Reef. With it supporting $6 billion to our economy and 60,000 jobs annually, it is a key driver of the
Palaszczuk government’s plan for economic recovery. It is why the Premier last week announced the
$7.5 million Work in Paradise package, to encourage thousands of young workers across Australia to
take a tourism job in regional hubs like Cairns. It is why since 2015 the Palaszczuk government has
invested around $400 million to protect our reef and create jobs. We know that protecting this World
Heritage listed treasure supports our tourism industry, jobs and economic recovery for our regions.

Last week I had the pleasure of hosting the first ever ministerial environmental round table in Far
North Queensland, on the doorstep of the Great Barrier Reef. There I met with environment groups,
business and industry to look at ways we can continue to protect our environment and create jobs,
building on the almost $1 billion investment just this year and building on initiatives such as our new
reef vessel that I had the pleasure of launching recently with the member for Gladstone. The new, jointly
funded $9.7 million vessel will act as a floating ranger station, enabling rangers to reach remote
locations on the reef. This 24-metre vessel will increase compliance, surveying and research
capabilities on the reef to help in the management of protected species and respond to incidents in the

I am pleased to advise the House that the Palaszczuk government will now look to build a new
barge to join that vessel in protecting our reef and in creating jobs. The new 19-metre catamaran will
be a long-range patrol barge designed to load, carry and unload a small excavator, vehicle and up to
six tonnes of cargo. Construction will start very soon and be completed by the 2022-23 financial year
to play a big role in the ongoing preservation and promotion of the reef.

Alongside this initiative is the $270 million Reef Water Quality Program, which is supporting jobs
in our regions through programs like Reef Assist. We are also working with groups like Greening
Australia on projects including the innovative gully project to prevent 8,500 tonnes of fine sediment from
reaching the reef every year. Of course, there is our target of net zero emissions by 2050 to make sure
our reef can continue to thrive for generations to come. The Palaszczuk government backs the reef,
backs jobs and backs Queensland by delivering our state’s economic recovery plan