The Great Southern Reef might not be as well-known as the Great Barrier Reef, but Australia's forgotten other 'Great Reef' is a vital natural resource with critical environmental, economic, and cultural significance.
The Great Southern Reef is an interconnected underwater system fringing more than 8000km of Australia’s southern coast, extending from Kalbarri (WA) to the NSW/Queensland border.
Our marine forests are our forgotten forests - and this couldn’t be truer for the Great Southern Reef. Kelp forests are a defining feature of the Great Southern Reef, they underpin its biodiversity and the subsequent industries that depend on it.
The impact on local ecosystems and fisheries due to the loss of the Great Southern Reef’s kelp forests has been severe.
People won’t protect what they don’t know, which is why the Greens plan to protect the Great Southern Reef will also invest in promoting its values and threats.
Promoting and protecting the Great Southern Reef will support marine tourism communities, leisure communities and the fishing industry, safeguard jobs, and build a vibrant marine ecology that will protect our oceans for future generations.
To protect and promote the Great Southern Reef, The Greens will:
- Fund $20 million to prioritise a Recovery Plan for giant kelp
- Fund $40 million to establish an Invasive Marine Species Unit within CSIRO to better tackle the spread of habitat destroying invasive urchins
- Campaign for and support golden kelp being listed as a threatened ecological community with a full recovery plan
- Appoint a Great Southern Reef Envoy in Canberra to promote the values of and threats to the Reef and the need for critical future funding support, working with coastal communities to assist with the impacts of climate change
- Implement seismic testing regulations to make industry pay for scientific research into its impacts on commercial fisheries and on the ecological and economic values of the Great Southern Reef areas