Canberra, Jan 28 (IANS): The Australian government on Friday announced an additional investment of 1 billion Australian dollars ($703 million) in saving the iconic Great Barrier Reef.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the funding over the next nine years is aimed at improving water quality, reef management and research.
The government said the package, which increases the funding committed to the Reef 2050 Plan to more than 3 billion AUD ($2.1 billion), will support 64,000 jobs and the economic future of tourism operators.
The Great Barrier Reef is the world's largest coral reef and one of Australia's biggest tourism attractions.
It is facing threats from climate change, with mass coral bleaching events in recent years.
More than half the new funding announced on Friday -- 579.9 million AUD (408 million U.S. dollars) -- will be planned to be spent on improving water quality in the area through remediating erosion.
The announcement came weeks after Anthony Albanese, leader of the opposition Labor Party, said they would invest 163 million AUD ($114 million) to conserve the Great Barrier Reef and support the tens of thousands of jobs that depend on it if victorious at the 2022 election.