Australia’s top companies join The Prince of Wales to lead fight for Great Barrier Reef
Prince Charles flanked by Foundation MD Anna Marsden (right) and GBRMPA's Dr Russell Reichelt at the Reef Roundtable
The Prince of Wales turtley loving his southern Great Barrier Reef experience
The Prince hit the beach with Wildlife Warriors Robert, Bindi and Terri Irwin with Lady Elliot Island's Peter Gash
A stroll through the nursery at Lady Elliot
Terri remarking on The Prince's great choice in suit colour
The Prince had the chance to see the Reef first hand with marine science experts
His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales visited the Great Barrier Reef today to learn firsthand how Australian corporate and government leaders are rallying to address the threats facing coral reefs.
The Prince joined the ‘Reef Roundtable’, hosted by The Prince’s Trust Australia and the Great Barrier Reef Foundation at Lady Elliot Island, meeting leaders from the technology, resources, energy, and property and infrastructure sectors as well as government and not for profit groups.
A key focus of discussions was the successful collaboration of companies and government, working together to build the resilience of the Great Barrier Reef to a changing climate, and learning about the projects that are having an impact.
As part of today’s roundtable, leading property and infrastructure company, Lendlease, announced a new $5 million commitment across 10 years supporting the Reef Islands Initiative being led by the Great Barrier Reef Foundation. This contribution is being matched by the Australian Government bringing commitments to the Great Barrier Reef today to $10 million.
The Great Barrier Reef is universally recognised as one of our planet’s greatest natural wonders
Lendlease Group Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director Steve McCann said, “The Great Barrier Reef is universally recognised as one of our planet’s greatest natural wonders. Its protection and preservation requires collaboration between government and the private sector, and we’re ready to contribute our skills and resources to assist.
“Lendlease employees from around the world will work with the Great Barrier Reef Foundation, and engage with local indigenous communities, to undertake on-ground conservation activities.”
Lendlease's Steve McCann with The Prince of Wales on Lady Elliot Island for the announcement
BHP is proud to have contributed almost $20 million in funding towards projects and initiatives that support a healthy Great Barrier Reef
BHP Chief External Affairs Officer Geoff Healy said it was a privilege to be part of the Reef Roundtable discussion.
“Over the past 11 years, BHP is proud to have contributed almost $20 million in funding towards projects and initiatives that support a healthy Great Barrier Reef,” Mr Healy said.
“The Raine Island Recovery Project is one example where BHP is working with the Queensland Government, Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority, traditional owners, researchers and the Great Barrier Reef Foundation to help to restore the world’s largest remaining green sea turtle nesting site – a critical part of the Reef’s precious ecosystem.
“These kinds of collaborations among private industry, governments, NGOs and others, are vital for the protection of this incredible part of the world for generations to come.”
As well as Lendlease and BHP, the Great Barrier Reef Foundation and The Prince’s Trust Australia hosted other major corporate, scientific, environmental and government organisations at the Roundtable including Qantas, Boeing, Australia Post, The Star Entertainment Group, The Walt Disney Company, Affirmative Investment Management, Virgin Australia, Australian Institute of Marine Science, Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority, University of Queensland, World Wildlife Fund (WWF) International, Greening Australia, Greenfleet Australia, Australia Zoo, Citizens of the Great Barrier Reef, The Prior Family Foundation, The Prince’s Accounting for Sustainability Project, Australian Government and Queensland Government.
The Prince has a deep and enduring interest in reef resilience
The Prince’s Trust Australia Chair, Margaret Jackson AC said the royal visit was a wonderful opportunity to highlight the work currently being done and to explore what can still be done for coral reefs.
“His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales has worked to protect our natural environment, marine ecosystems, and biodiversity for decades,” Ms Jackson AC said.
“The Prince has a deep and enduring interest in reef resilience and it is an honour to continue this work on his behalf through The Prince’s Trust Australia.
“There is no time like the present. As we mark the International Year of the Reef, we have a responsibility to collaborate across government, not-for-profit, the private sector and with local communities to ensure we safeguard the Great Barrier Reef and its natural assets for generations to come.”
Reefs are critically important ecosystems, supporting 25% of all marine life on the planet and supporting the livelihoods of over one billion people
Great Barrier Reef Foundation Chairman Dr John Schubert said, “Coral reefs are critically important ecosystems, supporting 25% of all marine life on the planet and supporting the livelihoods of over one billion people world-wide.”
“Aside from its outstanding natural and cultural heritage value, the Great Barrier Reef alone supports over 64,000 Australian jobs and contributes $6.4 billion to the Australian economy annually.
“But reefs are at risk on a global scale. In Australia, we’ve witnessed an unprecedented two consecutive years of mass coral bleaching on the Great Barrier Reef, significantly impacting the ecosystem.
“This is our time to act and the Great Barrier Reef Foundation is privileged to have the opportunity to show HRH The Prince of Wales how Australians are playing a lead role in tackling this issue on both a local and international scale.
“We’re proud to be working with companies like BHP, Lendlease and others together with our leading research organisations, government, local communities, international agencies, individuals and other not-for-profits because each has an important role to play for the Reef.
“There is more to be done and the Great Barrier Reef Foundation will be working with our partners to develop and launch the new forward-thinking solutions that coral reefs need from us right now,” Dr Schubert said.
This is the 16th time The Prince of Wales has visited Australia, and his first visit to the southern Great Barrier Reef.
Lady Elliott Island is a key climate refuge for marine life on the Great Barrier Reef and one of five islands and island groups that are part of a Great Barrier Reef Foundation program to ensure the Reef’s precious wildlife and plants can survive in an increasingly challenging environment. The island is renowned as an important habitat for seabirds, turtles, manta rays, dolphins, sharks and coral reefs, and is an exemplar of climate mitigation and resilience building through a proactive revegetation program and a range of waste and energy reduction initiatives.
The Prince’s Trust Australia - The Prince of Wales’ close connection with Australia dates back nearly fifty years, starting when he spent time here as a student with Geelong Grammar School in 1966. This marked the beginning of a lifelong affection held by The Prince of Wales for Australia, its landscape and people. His desire to further support Australia inspired the establishment of this charity in January 2013. His Royal Highness is the President of The Prince’s Trust Australia. www.princes-trust.org.au
Great Barrier Reef Foundation - The Great Barrier Reef Foundation exists to ensure there is a Great Barrier Reef for future generations. As the lead charity for the Great Barrier Reef, the Foundation raises funds and creates enduring strategic partnerships that deliver high impact, solution-driven projects for the Reef. It works with great minds to deliver greater impact for the Reef through science, technology, engineering and on-ground conservation action.