(Image: Gorkie/Private Media)

Today Scott Morrison is set to announce $1 billion over the next nine years for Great Barrier Reef conservation — or, as Michael Pascoe puts it, “$111m a year, a sixth of #carpork”.

The reef, as we know, faces an existential threat from climate change — a threat the Morrison government is helping to accelerate with its (lack of a) climate policy. 

The $1 billion (again, over nine years) won’t actually go towards reducing emissions targets to the point that they’re compatible with a living reef. Instead, Morrison said: “Funding will support scientists, farmers and traditional owners, backing in the very latest marine science while building resilience and reducing threats from pollution in our oceans, and predators such as the crown-of-thorns starfish.” (Morrison’s speech writers: “Be specific with your predators; reporters love colour”). 

So, technology and jobs.

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The announcement comes shortly before UNESCO inspectors head to Cairns to decide whether the Great Barrier Reef will be officially declared “in danger”, something the Morrison government lobbied heavily against last year. This thread from Greenpeace’s David Ritter gives a good explanation of what went down:

It’s hard not to read this as a blatant grab for Queensland votes. Indeed, a quick Twitter keyword search for “reef” reveals plenty of punters accusing the government of trying to shore up its climate credentials (what credentials?!):

But the government isn’t shy about playing dumb. Asked on RN Breakfast this morning whether the funding package is about shoring up Queensland votes, Environment Minister Sussan Ley said: “The reef doesn’t know the election is coming.”

No, it doesn’t, but for the rest of us, you couldn’t be making it any clearer.

Are you cynical about the PM’s funding announcement? Let us know your thoughts by writing to letters@crikey.com.au. Please include your full name if you would like to be considered for publication in Crikey’s Your Say columnWe reserve the right to edit for length and clarity.