Australia Announces $100 Million Initiative to Protect Our Oceans

Australia Announces $100 Million Initiative to Protect Our Oceans

Australia last week committed $100 million to ocean conservation in an effort to protect ‘blue carbon’ environments and reduce emissions.

Uniquely suited to care about marine life, as the world’s only island continent, the investment package will also support Australian Marine Parks, expand the Indigenous Protected Areas in the Sea Country and protection of marine species.

Much of the funding will go towards ecosystems that involve seagrass and mangroves, which play a key role in drawing carbon out of the atmosphere.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said Australia’s oceans would be key to the country’s role in driving down emissions.

“The climate and the planet’s oceans are inextricably linked. This investment is a major contribution to domestic and international efforts to build healthier oceans and combat climate change,” said Morrison.

“This investment will boost the seagrass and mangroves that will help cut emissions and it’ll mean cleaner beaches, lower fisheries bycatch, more fish stocks, better protection for turtles and seabirds, and help for coastal and Indigenous communities reliant on the ocean for their livelihoods.”

Around 85 percent of the Aussie population lives within 50 kilometers of the coast.

Minister for the Environment, Sussan Ley said $39.9 million will go towards reinforcing Australia’s position as a world leader in marine park management which includes:

$19.4 million to be delivered through two additional rounds of the successful Our Marine Parks Grants program which will create opportunities for industry, community organisations and Indigenous communities to further engage and connect with the management of Australian Marine Parks.

$15 million towards ocean discovery and restoration projects to help us understand more about our marine parks.

$5.4 million for steps to support the health and sustainability of the pristine waters around Australia’s Indian Ocean Territories.$11.6 million will be delivered over two years to incorporate Sea Country in Indigenous Protected Areas in nine locations, to provide Indigenous communities with economic and employment opportunities.

$30.6 million will be invested in practical action to restore and account for blue carbon ecosystems. This will improve the health of coastal environments in Australia and around the region and export Australia’s internationally recognized expertise in ocean accounting, while boosting regional employment and enabling us to account for the value of these habitats as blue carbon repositories:

Almost $19 million will go to four major on-ground projects restoring coastal ecosystems across the country, including tidal marshes, mangroves and seagrasses

$10 million will provide four major on-ground projects to assist developing countries in the region restore and protect their blue carbon ecosystems

Over $1 million will help to solidify Australia as a leader in ocean and natural capital accounting assistance – this enables us to understand and account for the environmental and economic benefits of protecting these critical ecosystems.

$18 million will target practical actions to protect iconic marine species, improve the sustainability of our fisheries through reducing bycatch and stimulate investment in our oceans:

$10 million will deliver ocean health through at least 25 targeted projects to restore and protect threatened marine species, eradicate invasive species from our islands and restore coastal habitats.

$5 million will fund new and innovative measures to support the marine environment and sustainable fisheries through practical measures to avoid bycatch of threatened species

$3 million will support the roll-out of ocean accounting at a national scale
The package will create regional jobs, engage coastal and Indigenous communities and the private sector, deliver actions to improve environmental outcomes for species and ecosystems, and provide a clear pathway for working with all sectors to realize Australia’s ocean potential.

The Government has also newly pledged $59.9 million to develop a high-integrity carbon offset scheme in its Indo-Pacific region to stimulate investment in high-quality projects that deliver carbon offsets that meet the requirements of the Paris Agreement.

“The Emissions Reduction Fund is one of the largest and most robust offset schemes in the world. We see an opportunity to work with our Indo-Pacific partners, and pass on the know-how and success of that program to reduce emissions and create jobs,” Angus Taylor said.

The investments are in addition to more than $1.1 billion the Morrison Government has this week announced it will invest in low emissions energy technologies such as hydrogen and carbon capture and storage—and is in addition to the $18 billion of investment the Government is making alongside the Technology Investment Roadmap over the next 10 years to drive at least $70 billion of total new investment in low emissions technologies in Australia by 2030.