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Conservation on Labor’s campaign agenda
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Conservation on Labor's campaign agenda

By Maeve Bannister
Following Scott Morrison's January Great Barrier Reef visit, Anthony Albanese talks conservation. (AAP)

Anthony Albanese will turn his election campaign attention to one of the seven wonders of the natural world.

The Labor leader visits Cairns on Friday to announce extra funding to help save the Great Barrier Reef, pledging to work with the Queensland government, Indigenous communities, businesses and landowners.

"Parents and grandparents are worried their children will not be able to see this incredible natural wonder for themselves," Mr Albanese said.

"That's why it's so important we act on climate change and species protection - to protect the reef and the tens of thousands of jobs that rely on it."

In January, Labor pledged $163 million in funding for a reef protection program.

The additional announcement brings the total commitment to $194.5 million over the forward estimates.

As part of Labor's plan, Indigenous ranger organisations will be allocated $100 million by the end of the decade for reef protection and restoration programs.

Labor will work with the state government to scale up gully and wetland restoration and expand a crown-of-thorns starfish culling program.

The plan also includes funding to research thermal tolerant corals to help the species adapt to climate change.

Mr Albanese said seeing the Great Barrier Reef in person was a highlight for many Australians and international tourists.

He's expected to make the announcement alongside Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk.

Scott Morrison visited Cairns in January to commit $1 billion over the next nine years to help manage the reef after the Commonwealth successfully lobbied UNESCO to delay a decision listing the site as "in danger".

Meanwhile, the government is playing up its border protection credentials, saying if it's re-elected on May 21 it will pass new laws to charge foreign criminals for the cost of their own immigration detention.

"We don't believe foreign criminals deserve free rent, food and medical treatment while we go through the process of deporting them," Immigration Minister Alex Hawke said in a statement on Friday.

"We have cancelled or refused visas to over 10,000 serious criminals through our reforms to the character test and as we go through the process of deporting even more, the free ride they are getting now ends."

Labor is happy to look at the proposal, Tanya Plibersek says. But the senior Labor MP questioned the timing of the announcement.

"Isn't it interesting that the government has been there for almost a decade. This guy has been prime minister for three years, before being treasurer he was the immigration minister," she told Sky News.

"He could have done it at any time. Now a week out from an election he's come up with this brilliant new idea and everyone has to fall in line immediately. It looks a bit like a policy that's been dreamt up for a political campaign.

"(But) of course we will look at sensible proposals. We will consider the proposals thoroughly and thoughtfully."

Ms Plibersek reaffirmed Labor's commitment to boat turnbacks, saying there would be no tolerance for people smugglers.

Day 33 of the campaign will also see the prime minister promising to secure modern manufacturing and supply chains in Australia.

A $324 million pledge will safeguard Australia's supply chains seen as key to prosperity, resilience and national security.

It includes $15 million for a monitoring support mechanism to help predict future shocks to the system.

The CSIRO will be funded $4 million to enhance its transport network tool, which models domestic supply chains in Australia.

In addition, a $53 million investment will go towards building an animal health vaccine research and manufacturing facility.

The funding will establish an Animal Health and Manufacturing Innovation Hub and ensure supply of vital animal health products.

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Dive Deeper:
Conservation on Labor’s campaign agenda
It’s Anthony Albanese’s turn to visit the Great Barrier Reef, where fellow prime ministerial contender Scott Morrison recently pledged $1…
Reef visit fuels emissions conversation
Anthony Albanese has visited north Queensland pledging to conserve the Great Barrier Reef but will not commit to a more…
Kim Jong-un lookalike crashes PM’s event
Scott Morrison’s visit to the Melbourne seat of Chisholm took a comical turn when a North Korean leader lookalike inserted…
Labor pledges more money to protect Great Barrier Reef from climate change if elected
Federal Labor announces an additional $194 million over four years to protect the Great Barrier Reef from climate change if…
One subscription that gives you access to news from hundreds of sites
Kim Jong-un lookalike crashes PM's event
Scott Morrison's visit to the Melbourne seat of Chisholm took a comical turn when a North Korean leader lookalike inserted…
Labor pledges millions in funding to protect threatened species and Great Barrier Reef
Opposition says it will also provide a response to the Samuel review into Australia’s national environmental laws
Get all your news in one place