We welcome this morning's announcement from Federal Member for Herbert, Phil Thompson OAM MP that Townsville's Reef HQ Great Barrier Reef Aquarium will receive $26.9M towards upgrading the facility.
The aging infrastructure, housing the world's largest living coral reef exhibit, will receive the funding over four years, which has been announced as a part of the Morrison Government's mid-year budget review.
Opened in 1987 as a Bicentennial initiative, the facility is a a natural resource that provides in excess of 140,000 guests annually the opportunity to view and learn about the Great Barrier Reef. Reef HQ delivers both in-house and outreach education as well as EduTourism programs.
Whilst the commitment only partly addresses the refurbishment requirements that would see this asset reclaim its former glory of a world class Great Barrier Reef education and research facility, it is a solid step forward and a great start after years of neglect across successive Governments.
Upgrading Reef HQ has been a key part of our advocacy platform for some time and this is very much welcomed news, particularly heading into the holiday period which will see many locals and visitors through the doors of the aquarium.
The experiences delivered through Reef HQ are inextricably linked to the ongoing success of the Reef tourism industry and consequently the Queensland and Australian tourism industries. We look forward to working through the details of this announcement with the Member for Herbert, the Federal Government, and the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority CEO Josh Thomas and his team.