Reef Assist $10m is a great start but could be expanded to 10x the size

PRESS RELEASE – Queensland Conservation Council (QCC) strongly welcomes the $10m announcement of Reef Assist stimulus to provide temporary nature-based employment in hard-hit areas and hopes this is the first step of a bigger program.  

“This is the right program, creating the right type of jobs in the places where it can give the greatest long term benefit,”  says Dave Copeman, Queensland Conservation Council’s Green Recovery Campaigner.

 “This program offers jobs that anyone who is physically fit can do. Locals who’ve lost their tourism or hospitality job in regional Queensland face a tough future, and programs like this let them stay in their community and do valuable work. 

“The science tells us streambank rehabilitation and tree plantings in Reef catchments is essential to reduce runoff and help save the Reef. The research and planning have already been done. The Reef 2050 Water Improvement Plan 2017-2022 shows that these workers will be safeguarding their local economic future by protecting the Reef, preserving our State’s greatest natural wonder.

“$10m is a good start, and these 200 jobs will be important, but tourism alone directly and indirectly employs 225,000 people in Queensland. If the Federal Government doesn’t act quickly to extend JobKeeper to affected sectors like tourism and hospitality after September, thousands more Queenslander will be looking for work. We think this program will need to expand substantially, and will keep pushing for further stimulus to create jobs in hard affected areas."