CANBERRA, Oct. 21 (Xinhua) -- The Australian government has announced a funding boost for the conservation of the iconic Great Barrier Reef.
Tanya Plibersek, minister for the Environment and water, on Friday outlined the federal government's plan to protect the reef from the impacts of global warming.
It includes an additional 204 million Australian dollars (128.1 million U.S. dollars) in funding to address critical gaps in the long-term reef sustainability funding.
The extra commitment takes Australia's total investment in the Great Barrier Reef to 4.4 billion AUD (2.7 billion USD) from 2014-15 through to 2029-30.
In a joint statement with Nita Green, the special envoy for the Great Barrier Reef, Plibersek said the plan would reduce sediment run-off and restore mangrove and seagrass beds.
"If we protect the reef, we protect our future. This new investment will bring forward actions that have been long overdue," they said.
"Under the previous government, the Reef 2050 Plan was allowed to drift off course. We're bringing it back on track."
"This funding will deliver stronger monitoring to ensure water quality targets are met, improve our understanding of blue carbon ecosystems and support traditional owners to manage land and sea country."
The funding includes 20 million AUD (12.5 million USD) to assist corals in evolving more quickly and adapting to a changing environment.
A 15.3 million AUD (9.6 million USD) grant has been awarded to the Central Queensland University to establish the Coastal Marine Ecosystems Research Centre.
The Great Barrier Reef, the world's largest coral reef, is also one of Australia's biggest tourism attractions.
In March, it experienced its sixth mass coral bleaching event as a result of marine heatwaves.
Friday's announcement came ahead of Plibersek meeting with state and territory officials for the first time since the federal government won power in May.
The meeting will set the agenda for the national response to environmental challenges. ■