‘Critical’: Qantas to drop $10m on tourist spot

Qantas has pledged $10m to the Great Barrier Reef. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Andrew Henshaw

Embattled airline Qantas has pledged $10 million over the next decade to support one of the nation’s most well-known tourist hotspots, the Great Barrier Reef.

The national carrier announced the new fund in partnership with the Great Barrier Reef Foundation on Thursday aimed at accelerating critical reef restoration.

The funds will be used for Coral IVF programs, which grow infant coral, as well investment in more heat-tolerant coral and world-first portable coral nurseries.

Great Barrier Reef Foundation managing director Anna Marsden said the funds would help fund “critical actions at a critical time” for the national icon.

“Coral reefs are the beating heart of our oceans. They’re a nursery and safe haven for a quarter of all marine life and support a billion people, “ she said.

Qantas has pledged $10m to the Great Barrier Reef. Picture: Supplied
Qantas has pledged $10m to the Great Barrier Reef. Picture: Supplied

“The Great Barrier Reef, and coral reefs around Australia and the world, cannot adapt fast enough to warming ocean temperatures

“(They are) one of the most vulnerable ecosystems on the planet. We must help safeguard their future from the impacts of climate change.”

Ms Marsden said more advancements had been made in coral restoration science in the past five years than in the five decades before that.

In addition to scientific programs, the funds will also be used to support traditional owners and local tourism operators restore corals across the reef.

Qantas Group chief sustainability officer Andrew Parker said the carrier’s partnership with the foundation was a key part of its new Nature Action Plan.

“Connecting our customers with natural landscapes is at the core of what we do, including carrying millions of people to the reef each year,” Mr Parker said.

More than two million people visited the reef between 2022-23. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Andrew Henshaw

“We know that aviation is a high emissions industry, which is why we were one of the first airlines globally to commit to net-zero emissions by 2050.

“We want to take the same leadership in addressing our impact on nature so that future generations can enjoy all the opportunities that travel offers for years to come.”

The news comes at a critical time for Qantas following a string of high-profile departures and court rulings, pertaining particularly to its actions during Covid.

About 2.19 million people visited the Great Barrier Reef between 2022 and 2023, according to the federal government, contributing $5.9bn to the national economy.