LOCAL reef tourism operators, including Quicksilver and Passions of Paradise, will monitor and survey reef health across 234 reefs in a $3.2m project to protect jobs.

Federal Member for Leichhardt Warren Entsch said 17 marine tourism operators stuck up their hand to do the work, which would support about 300 existing jobs.

He said the monitoring would support the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority's Reef Blueprint, which outlines what actions can support reef resilience.

"The project aims to provide a degree of business continuity for tourism operations through the provision of key services at 243 high-value tourism sites," Mr Entsch said.

Member for Leichhardt Warren Entsch said the project would support about 300 existing jobs.
Member for Leichhardt Warren Entsch said the project would support about 300 existing jobs.


"Operators will undertake in-water conservation and monitoring activities, including reef health and impact surveys, coral gardening and culling crown-of-thorns starfish," he said.

Operators will also capture videos and photos to document their activities and enable the Marine Park Authority to share their images with the world.

Association of Marine Park Tourism Operators chief executive Gareth Phillips said the program would help keep reef tourism operators afloat for at least the next six months.

AMPTO CEO Gareth Phillips said the program would help keep reef tourism operators afloat for the next six months. Picture: Stewart McLean
AMPTO CEO Gareth Phillips said the program would help keep reef tourism operators afloat for the next six months. Picture: Stewart McLean


"The project is great because it's reef-wide - we've been working with Warren Entsch to get this off the ground, so it's great that it's come to life," he said.

"Tourism operators do this type of monitoring out on the reef normally, so now it's going to assist them with extra funding to help them recover."

Mr Phillips said he hoped the project would grow past the first six months, with the capacity for more tourism operators to get involved.

"This is a great sign that the government is trying to support the industry as much as they can," he said.

Mr Entsch said participating tourism operators were selected through an open tender process.

Federal Environment Minister Sussan Ley said the initiative helped ensure business continuity for the tourism industry, as well as helping conserve and protect high-value reef tourism sites.

"We're delighted to support our passionate tourism operators to monitor reef health, control native pest outbreaks, and conduct restoration activities at local reef sites," Ms Ley said.

Originally published as JobKeeper's $3.2m replacement: Is it enough?


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