12th April 2018
Calling for the attention and financial commitment of top Australian businesses to defend the Great Barrier Reef, Prince Charles partook in a round table discussion at Lady Elliot Island in Central Queensland late last week.
Passionate about supporting the preservation of our natural resources, the Prince has twice spoken up about the effect of climate change on the Great Barrier Reef over the last six months, calling it “catastrophic”.
Speaking with the Australian Financial Review on Friday, the Duke of Cambridge made clear his wish to prioritise the Great Barrier Reef in what he hopes will be a new ‘blue economy’.
“I have no doubt in my mind that this will need to be a central aspect of the rapidly-emerging concept of a sustainable ‘blue economy’, through which sustainable economic development is achieved via the wise use of ocean resources.”
Expanding on the plans, he said, “Within the blue economy it would be helpful to think of coral reef ecosystems as natural capital assets, assets that require the kind of prudent and wise management that will yield dividends long into the future.”
Welcoming him to the region on Friday was renowned wildlife activists Terri, Bindi and Robert Irwin, who expressed enthusiasm in the Prince’s efforts; “If it weren’t for His Royal Highness being the catalyst for this meeting, I don’t know if it would’ve happened the way it has”, said Terri.
Causing some controversy, the Prince also remarked on the usage of banned farm chemicals in the area, causing pollution of the reef. This comment was met with some resistance from the president of Canegrowers Australia who claimed that “protecting our waterways and the Reef are priorities for farmers as well as in our economic best interests and we have nothing to hide”.
Following the meeting, property group Lendlease promised $5 million to the Great Barrier Reef Foundation over the next 10 years.
Before leaving the reef, the Duke of Cambridge took a boat tour of the region and spoke to holidaymakers waiting on the shore.