Conservation on Labor’s campaign agenda

Anthony Albanese will turn his election campaign attention to one of the seven wonders of the natural world.

The Labor leader will on Friday visit Cairns on Friday to announce extra funding to help save the Great Barrier Reef, pledging to work with the Queensland government, First Nations communities, businesses and landowners.

“Parents and grandparents are worried their children will not be able to see this incredible natural wonder for themselves,” Mr Albanese said.


“That’s why it’s so important we act on climate change and species protection – to protect the reef and the tens of thousands of jobs that rely on it.”

In January, Labor pledged $163 million in funding for a reef protection program.

The additional announcement brings the total commitment to $194.5 million over the forward estimates.

As part of Labor’s plan, Indigenous ranger organisations will be allocated $100 million by the end of the decade for reef protection and restoration programs.

Labor will work with the state government to scale up gully and wetland restoration and expand a crown-of-thorns starfish culling program.

The plan also includes funding to research thermal tolerant corals to help the species adapt to climate change.

Mr Albanese said seeing the Great Barrier Reef in person was a highlight for many Australians and international tourists.

He’s expected to make the announcement alongside Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk.

“It’s clear Anthony Albanese will work in real partnership with our government, landholders, experts, industry, traditional owners and reef communities,” she said.

Scott Morrison visited Cairns in January to commit $1 billion over the next nine years to help manage the reef after the Commonwealth successfully lobbied UNESCO to delay a decision listing the site as “in danger”.

Meanwhile, the government was on Friday playing up its border protection credentials saying if it’s re-elected on May 21 it will pass new laws to charge foreign criminals for the cost of their own immigration detention.

“We don’t believe foreign criminals deserve free rent, food and medical treatment while we go through the process of deporting them,” Immigration Minister Alex Hawke said in a statement on Friday.

“We have cancelled or refused visas to over 10,000 serious criminals through our reforms to the Character Test and as we go through the process of deporting even more, the free ride they are getting now ends.”

Day 33 of the campaign will also see the prime minister promising to secure modern manufacturing and supply chains in Australia.

A $324 million pledge will safeguard Australia’s supply chains seen as key to prosperity, resilience and national security.

It includes $15 million for a monitoring support mechanism to help predict future shocks to the system.

The CSIRO will be funded $4 million to enhance its transport network tool which models domestic supply chains in Australia.

Mr Morrison said COVID-19, international conflict and national disasters demonstrated the importance of a robust supply chain for the success of the economy.

“We make things in Australia and we make them well,” he said.

“Our supply chains are the backbone of our manufacturing industry and that’s why my government will always invest in strengthening them.”

In addition, a $53 million investment will go towards constructing an animal health vaccine research and manufacturing facility.

The funding will establish an Animal Health and Manufacturing Innovation Hub and ensure supply of vital animal health products.

© AAP 2022