Statement on Senate Report into the Reef Trust Partnership
Anna Marsden, Managing Director, Great Barrier Reef Foundation (GBRF)
The twin perils of climate change and local stresses mean the window of opportunity for saving the Reef is closing.
That is why are working diligently to give effect to the Reef Trust Partnership – consistent with our 20-year history of mobilising capital, people and science in the interests of protecting and restoring the Reef.
We have implemented the first project funding under the Partnership – a health check on the remote far northern reefs that was undertaken in partnership with the Australian Institute of Marine Science last month.
The GBRF has already started work on identifying projects to improve water quality (grant applications commenced in November 2018), as well as citizen science initiatives (grant applications announced in December 2018) and the largest single investment in Traditional Owner Reef Protection (announced in January 2019).
The GBRF is also serving as a good guardian of taxpayer funds. We have met all milestones and obligations, and we have not ‘gamed’ the contract through premature or long-term contractual commitments.
Following extensive consultation, the GBRF has also released 10 strategic plans, including the Investment Strategy which provides an enduring road map for Reef protection.
Work progressing under the Reef Trust Partnership with the Australian Government complements GBRF’s existing portfolio of projects to tackle the effects of climate change and build reef resilience.
Our corporate partnerships are focused on addressing everything we can do to build the Reef’s resilience, right now. Our impact includes restoring the world’s largest turtle rookery on Raine Island and unlocking the genetic code of coral, to protecting critical habitats for bird and marine life on Reef islands and the development of an underwater drone, ‘Rangerbot’. The GBRF will continue to fund, develop and deliver the projects needed to ensure the Reef has exactly what it needs to survive and thrive for generations to come.
The GBRF has worked in partnership with Commonwealth Governments since 2007, and we will continue to work with the government of the day on the best solutions that can yield a brighter and better future for the Reef.
In relation to Recommendation 4, we are developing a longer-term investment strategy modelled on the Disability Care Fund – managed by the Future Fund. It will include a strong ESG and sustainable investment policy. We look forward to working to finalise it with our advisors, Mercer.
Recommendations relating to federal government process and policies are for them to respond to.
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