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Friday 17

August, 2018 5:44 PM



The Great Barrier Reef Foundation saga

The Great Barrier Reef Foundation saga

Key dates in the government's controversial $444 million grant to the Great Barrier Reef Foundation.

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By AAP 09.08.2018 11:56 AM

SAGA OF THE GREAT BARRIER REEF FOUNDATION

March 29 - The expenditure review committee of cabinet reportedly decides to find a commercial partner for its reef plan.

April 9 - The foundation is offered a $444 million grant at a private meeting between managing director Anna Marsden, chair John Schubert, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, Environment Minister Josh Frydenberg and his department secretary Finn Pratt.

April 29 - The government announces the grant - the single largest allocation of federal money to the reef in Australian history - in a press release.

May 8 - $535.8 million across five years is pledged towards protecting and improving the reef in the federal budget.

May 21 - Senate estimates reveal the foundation was given the record grant without having to go through a tender process and revealing how the money would be spent.

May 29 - The Greens call for an inquiry into the funding.

July 30 - The Senate inquiry reveals the April 9 meeting when grant was offered, with Ms Marsden admitting the foundation "did not suggest or make any application" for the money.

August 6 - Labor sets up a petition calling for the money to be returned, as the prime minister insists the grant process was "very thorough". Ms Marsden says the funding was a complete surprise and claims the foundation has raised $90 million since it was created in 2000.

August 7 - Labor's Kristina Keneally says the money essentially makes the foundation a grant-making body, so other organisations including the CSIRO and the Marine Park Authority will have to apply to it for funding

August 8 - Labor's Tony Burke says the foundation's annual reports do not add up to "anywhere near" $90 million, and the auditor-general considers investigating the grant.

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