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Controversial Reef foundation commits to $400m fundraising campaign

Amid ongoing controversy over the federal government’s half a billion dollar grant, the Great Barrier Reef Foundation has announced plans to raise a further $400 million over six years

The Great Barrier Reef Foundation (GBRF) unveiled plans to raise $400 million amid controversy over the government’s untendered $444 million grant.

The charity remains on the receiving end of criticism over the federal government’s decision to grant almost half a billion dollars without the proper process. GBRF said it would raise a further $300 to $400 million from private donors in six years.

It comes in response to survey results that revealed conservation of the Reef is at the forefront of Australia’s environmental issues.

GBRF Managing Director, Anna Marsden, said: “Australians are rightly proud and passionate about the Great Barrier Reef – and want to see this extraordinary natural wonder saved. The clear urgency of this task reinforces our ambition in launching the nation’s largest ever environmental fundraising campaign.”

The Collaborative Investment Strategy, which outlines the GBRF’s proposed campaign plan, revealed that the foundation is aiming to match the public donation of $100 million, encourage corporate giving and encourage further community giving.

“We are aiming high because the Reef is worth saving and business-as-usual won’t cut it,” Marsden said. “Our fundraising objectives have already been peer reviewed and will be subject to further feasibility studies but we are confident in them – and confident they are precisely what the Reef needs.”

Co-Chair of the Partnership Management Committee, the panel of experts charged with overseeing the delivery of RTP, John Gunn, endorsed the GBRF’s strategy.

“The methods and metrics that inform the strategy harness well-established best-practice across the charity sector and science and research sectors.

“Matching public and private capital with contributed funds from delivery partners is now commonplace and the best way to maximise the value of Investments.”

This follows the revelation that Scott Morrison approved the controversial grant. The Saturday Paper found the Prime Minister argued for allocating the funds up front and to that extent out of concern not doing so would jeopardise the government’s chances of getting the budget back into surplus as promised in 2019-2020.

It was also revealed that the grant had to be given to an organisation that wasn’t a Commonwealth agency, ruling out the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority.

Despite Liberal’s insistence the money was granted under the proper processes, Labor has promised to return the money if they are elected.

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