More than 6500 Queensland students will get to explore the Great Barrier Reef thanks to a $1 million initiative launched by the Palaszczuk Government today.
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said the Great Barrier Reef Education Experience Program would allow thousands more Queensland students to enjoy a school excursion on the Great Barrier Reef over the next three years.
“The Great Barrier Reef is one of the seven wonders of the world and it’s right in our backyard,” the Premier said.
“I want as many Queensland students as possible to experience its beauty and understand its importance.
“That’s why we’re providing up to $150 for eligible students to the Reef starting in Term Three this year.
“By supporting Queensland students to visit the Reef, we’re also supporting local businesses.
“Local tourism operators have done it tough over the last 12 months.
“This initiative will support local jobs and pump cash back into local businesses.”
Tourism Minister Stirling Hinchliffe said the Great Barrier Reef Education Experience Program would assist accommodation and reef tour businesses.
“It helps the tourism industry and primary and secondary students to get out into the field for school curriculum activities including reef biodiversity and science,” he said.
“This is an additional investment by the Palaszczuk Government to encourage young Queenslanders to explore the reef and support jobs for the tourism industry’s economic recovery.”
Member for Cairns and Assistant Tourism Minister Michael Healy said more school excursions on the Reef would help to pump thousands of dollars into tourism.
“Helping young Queenslanders to explore the wonders of the Great Barrier Reef puts money in the pockets of Reef tour operators and builds knowledge for the next generation,” he said.
“It’s a win for tourism operators and teaches the leaders of tomorrow about the long-term importance and preservation of one of our state’s greatest living natural assets.”
Education Minister Grace Grace said today’s announcement would benefit students across a range of year levels and subjects.
“Excursions are a great learning tool for our teachers and students,” she said.
“Having the opportunity to see the Great Barrier Reef in person could be life changing for many of our students.
“I encourage schools to make the most of this initiative.”
Association of Marine Park Tourism Operators CEO Gareth Phillips welcomed today’s announcement.
“The Great Barrier Reef Marine Tourism Industry has been delivering educational experiences for many years and this subsidy will help schools to get access to these education programs,” Mr Phillips said.
“This will provide pupils with a greater understand of the complexities of the Great Barrier Reef and inspire them further.”
Minister Hinchliffe said the $1 million program for young reef explorers was similar to the Palaszczuk Government’s existing Outback Queensland Education Experience program.
“Over the last decade, we’ve helped up to 6000 students to visit and explore western Queensland and now we’re expanding our educational focus to the wonders of the reef from north to south,” Mr Hinchliffe said.
“While the return of international travel is still some way off, the Palaszczuk Government is continuing to help tourism to rebuild better.”
The program will be rolled out from Term Three, 2021.
All primary and secondary Queensland schools can apply.