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Australian gov't funding to save Great Barrier Reef
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15:58, July 02, 2009

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The Australian government on Thursday committed a 50 million Australian dollars (40.5 million U.S. dollars) "downpayment" to improve the water quality of the Great Barrier Reef.

The funding, part of the government's 200 million Australian dollars (162 million U.S. dollars) Reef Rescue project, would be provided to a group of natural resource management bodies, agriculture industry groups and the conservation group WWF (World Wide Fund).

More than 900 farmers as well as tourism, fishing and aquaculture, indigenous communities, conservation groups and researchers support the scheme.

Agriculture Minister Tony Burke said it was a "once-in-a-lifetime chance to resuscitate the reef".

"Farmers hold one of the keys to the reef's long-term health - they understand the land and how to manage it in a smart, productive way," he said in a statement.

The government has set an objective to reduce nutrient and chemical discharge into the reef by 25 percent from next year.

The Reef Rescue funding forms a part of a 400 million Australian dollars (324 million U.S. dollars) Caring for our Country project.

Source: Xinhua

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