30 May 2016


WWF-Australia has welcomed the announcement of a $10 million partnership between Virgin Australia and Greening Australia to address soil erosion affecting the Great Barrier Reef.

The partnership is being backed by the Australian Government’s Reef Trust, which will contribute up to $2 million to the initiative.

The initiative was announced today by Sir Richard Branson in Sydney.

WWF-Australia spokesperson Sean Hoobin said soil erosion and farm pollution are key drivers of the Reef’s decline.

“Farm pollution smothers and blocks sunlight from corals and seagrass, and drives crown-of-thorn starfish outbreaks,” Mr Hoobin said.

“Poor water quality makes corals more vulnerable to bleaching, and reduces their ability to recover from coral bleaching events."

“We applaud Virgin Australia, Greening Australia, and the Australian Government for their efforts. Today’s announcement is a great initiative for the Reef, and we need to see more like this in the future.”

Mr Hoobin said projects like this needed to be backed by strong laws and more resources to tackle Reef pollution.

“To give the Reef the clean water it needs to restore its health we need to pass laws which stop farm pollution flowing into Reef waters as well as establish a multi-billion dollar fund to fast-track farm practices which cut pollution and repair Reef catchments,” he said.

WWF-Australia media contact: Daniel Rockett, National Media Manager, 0432 206 592, drockett@wwf.org.au