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  • Gavin King

    Tropic Now editor

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    Reef rules in run for seat of Leichhardt

    Funding for marathon events and a promise to find money for a TTNQ marketing initiative have kept the Great Barrier Reef in the election spotlight today.

    The Great Barrier Reef continues to dominate the Federal campaign battle for Leichhardt, with multi-million promises and pledges made by both major parties today.

    LNP incumbent Warren Entsch announced he would secure $150,000 over three years for the Run for the Reef marathon event, while his Labor opponent Sharryn Howes vowed to lobby for $1 million for the Citizens of the Great Barrier Reef marketing initiative.

    Mr Entsch said the funding for the Run for the Reef events - managed by the team at Tropical Journeys Great Barrier Reef Marathon Festival - would help raise awareness and generate public engagement about protecting the reef.

    He said the Run for the Reef series of events will operate in a similar way to Relay for Life, with a focus on both fundraising and "increasing awareness and generating public engagement".

    "The events aim to have a high level of community participation, with each Run for the Reef operating at the same day and time across different regions, supported by digital and streaming link ups," Mr Entsch said.

    "The funds raised at the 2016 event will enable research into the significant adolescent gatherings of Whale Sharks on the Great Barrier Reef, and could unlock some unknowns with regard to the importance the Reef plays as a sanctuary to iconic species."

    Shortly after Mr Entsch's announcement, he joined Federal candidates at a luncheon debate hosted by the Cairns Chamber of Commerce, Advance Cairns and TTNQ.

    During the Q&A session, Labor's Sharryn Howes promised to lobby for $1 million worth of funding for the Citizens of the Great Barrier Reef campaign, aimed at sharing positive messages about the reef.

    Ms Howes was pressured by TTNQ's Alex De Waal to match the Coalition's earlier announcement of $1.3 million for the Citizens initiative.

    But Ms Howes only committed to lobbying for $1 million as part of Labor's recent $500 million package to protect the Reef if it is elected on July 2.