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Great Barrier Reef Gets $700 Million as Morrison Eyes Election

  • Government announces funding for key attraction, employer
  • Australia climate change policy has been heavily criticized
Vlassof Cay in the Great Barrier Reef in Cairns, Australia.
Vlassof Cay in the Great Barrier Reef in Cairns, Australia.Photographer: Mark Kolbe/Getty Images 
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Australia has pledged A$1 billion ($700 million) in funding to help protect the Great Barrier Reef as the government looks to burnish its green credentials ahead of a national election due by May.

The package will help support an attraction that employs 64,000 workers and brings in A$6.4 billion in tourism revenue every year, according to a statement late Thursday. Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s government has been heavily criticized not just for its handling of the reef but for its climate policy, which some say has endangered Earth’s largest living structure.