Seventeen marine tourism operators along the Great Barrier Reef will take to the water from this week for reef site monitoring and maintenance, supporting up to 300 existing frontline jobs in the Reef’s tourism industry.
Federal Member for Capricornia Michelle Landry has announced Great Keppel Watersports Pty Ltd was one of the seventeen marine tourism operators operating to be a part of the $3.2 million initiative, as a part of the Australian Government’s $1 billon COVID-19 Relief and Recovery Fund, which supports regions, communities and industry sectors severely affected by the coronavirus crisis.
Ms Landry said supporting businesses and jobs on the Reef and in tourist hotspots is essential to the region’s economic recovery.
“The Capricorn Coast and Great Barrier Reef are some of our most valuable tourist destinations in Capricornia with its remarkable coral reefs and beaches,” Ms Landry said.
“This initiative will be vital for ensuring we correctly manage its health into the future, while supporting jobs and livelihoods.”
Ms Landry also said the project would support about 300 existing frontline Reef tourism jobs across the state.
“The project aims to provide a degree of business continuity for tourism operations through the provision of key services,” Ms Landry said.
“Operators will undertake in-water conservation and monitoring activities, including reef health and impact surveys, coral gardening and culling crown-of-thorns starfish.
“Imagery captured of the Reef during these activities will also be used to help keep the Reef top of mind for tourists and support tourism recovery campaigns both domestically and overseas.”
Operators will collect important data from in-water surveys through the Authority’s Eye on the Reef system, improving knowledge of reef impacts and recovery.
They will also capture videos and photos to document their activities and enable the Marine Park Authority to share their images with the world, highlighting the beauty of the Reef and our efforts to protect it.
Participating tourism operators were selected through an open tender process run by the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority. The activities will occur at 234 reefs until 30 June 2021.
In-water activities under this initiative directly support the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority’s Reef Blueprint, which outlines what actions can support reef resilience.
More information on the $1 billon COVID-19 Relief and Recovery Fund can be found at www.regional.gov.au/regional/programs/covid-19-relief-and-recovery-fund.aspx.