BHP Billiton and the Great Barrier Reef Foundation today announced a new $7 million partnership to support critical marine research and rehabilitation works at remote Raine Island, and the development of an overarching reef-wide ‘Reef Resilience Framework.’
Located off the Cape York Peninsula, 620km north of Cairns, Raine Island is the location of the world’s largest green turtle breeding ground, and home to a major Coral Sea seabird nesting population. Raine Island is recognised globally for its environmental importance.
The partnership was announced by BHP Billiton’s President, Coal, Mr Mike Henry and the Great Barrier Reef Foundation’s Managing Director, Ms Claire Hanratty.
This research investment will also enable the development of an overarching ‘Reef Resilience Framework’ to direct critical research that bolsters the Reef’s ability to adapt to all the threats it faces, including climate change risks.
Mr Henry said BHP Billion was extraordinarily proud of the partnership because it would underpin critical research into environmental sustainability and biodiversity.
“Raine Island is the focal point for one of the greatest animal migrations seen on earth, with some nesting seasons seeing the arrival of 100,000 turtles, so it’s an absolutely critical part of the Reef’s ecosystem,” Mr Henry said.
“Sustainability is a core value for BHP Billiton, and we constantly challenge ourselves to do more to support the environments in which we operate.
“That’s why we are so proud to partner with the Foundation to help preserve the Reef’s unique biodiversity, which is recognised globally as a vibrant and diverse marine habitat.”
Ms Hanratty said the importance of the partnership in restoringand maintaining Raine Island as an ecosystem could not be overstated.
“This initiative will advance the vital research and restoration activities on the Great Barrier Reef, reflecting the Foundation’s mission in bringing together science, business, government and reef management to help protect and preserve the Reef,” Ms Hanratty said.
“Importantly, this investment also delivers on a key action outlined in the Commonwealth and Queensland Governments’ Reef 2050 Long Term Sustainability Plan, and leverages the investment of both governments in the pilot project.
“The partnership will also assist in the development of a Reef Resilience Framework which will help guide future research investments and ensure they are strategically directed towards reef management and community outcomes that can be shared.”
In addition to the $7 million for the Reef Resilience Partnership, over the past eight years BHP Billiton has committed almost $6 million to the Great Barrier Reef Foundation’s research programs, including Creefs and eReefs, a world leading system for reef management planning.