Wealthy companies are being asked to sponsor the Great Barrier Reef as part of a new initiative to improve its health.
The federal government is offering sponsorships, ranging from $1 million to $7 million, that will allow companies to use the reef in their branding while help saving the World Heritage-listed asset.
A glossy brochure has been released, inviting companies to stump up cash for conservation efforts such as restoring seabird nesting habitats and fighting the crown-of-thorns starfish.
It also urges investors, philanthropic organisations and individuals to get behind the Reef Trust partnership project, which has already received $140 million in federal funding.
Those who sponsor the reef will be recognised in branding of project materials, including on social media.
Federal Environment Minister Greg Hunt said the government was also encouraging organisations to come up with their own ideas and projects to make a “big difference” to the reef.
“The innovation, goodwill and commitment of the industry, private sector and philanthropy all have a key role to play,” he said.
But Greens Senator Larissa Waters says the government’s plan is farcical, given it has just approved the southern hemisphere’s largest coal mine despite scientists warning global warming is the biggest threat to the reef.
“It’s a bit rich for the government to be cooking the reef with its coal obsession, and then wanting rich individuals to bail it out,” she told ABC radio.
She says the government should be using its own money to preserve the reef.
Reef projects for sponsorship
- Seabird resilience: $1 million over five years to improve seabird habitats on reef islands
- Crown-of-thorns starfish control: $7 million over three years to stop coral loss from crown-of-thorns starfish outbreaks
- Sub-catchment repair: $5 million over five years for sub-catchment ecosystem repair in the Fitzroy region
- Native plant nursery and weed control: $2 million over five years to support revegetation of reef catchments
- Establishing floating wetlands: $3 million over three years to help establish an initial floating wetlands to reduce pollutants
- Restoring riparian areas: $1.5 million over three years to restore riverbank areas in catchments identified as having high sediment run-off