We're calling on the community of Townsville North Queensland and marine advocates everywhere to support our call to rebuild our beloved Great Barrier Reef Aquarium (formerly Reef HQ). 

The closure of Reef HQ Aquarium in February 2021 marked the beginning of a much needed $80M refurbishment, we commend the Government for retaining this funding in the current budget. However, the scope of the project has changed to a full demolition and rebuild and this has meant an additional $100M in funding is needed to develop a world-class science and education centre for our nation's greatest natural asset. The full funding required has not been forthcoming in the 2024-25 Federal Budget. This is a disappointment for our North Queensland community, future generations, and the science and education of the reef. 

Since its opening in 1987, Reef HQ has been a global leader in education and tourism, boasting our nation's greatest natural asset - $56B Great Barrier Reef, attracting over 110,000 local, national and international visitors annually.

What we stand to lose:

  • Community pride and profile - The facility is a powerful measure of community pride, a facility the Townsville community has proudly called theirs for over 30 years. Offering world-class entertainment intertwined with marine science education, the Aquarium creates a vibrant cultural and lifestyle hub which boost regional liveability and the visitor economy.  
  • Education - As a proud reef city, the global education and story-telling abilities delivered through a central facility – also home to the Australian Institute of Marine Science, James Cook University and the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority – is what truly puts this project, and this city on the map. In a time when coral bleaching and reef conservation is part of the national and international news cycle, and a time when urgent action should be taken to protect our national treasure, the need for quality expert-led education intertwined with rich tapestry of Indigenous knowledge of sea country, cannot be underestimated or deferred.
  • Jobs and economic value - The Aquarium generates more than 1,300 direct and indirect jobs across our region and contribute over $444M to our local economy. No other community or tourism project in the region promises this same scale of economic benefit. 
  • Environmental leadership and credibility - Townsville is home to the Australian Institute of Marine Science, James Cook University and the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority. Without this joint facility, our credentials as the Headquarters of the Great Barrier Reef as the global epicentre of reef education and conservation is severely limited.
  • Centre of story-telling - A centre to showcase Queensland's biodiversity, prehistoric and maritime history and our ability to share the rich tapestry of Indigenous knowledge and connection to sea country. 


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