Plans unveiled to make Townsville world leader in education and marine science for the Great Barrier Reef

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Render of the Global Great Barrier Reef Centre of Excellence on Townsville's waterfront.

Plans have been revealed for a brand new Global Great Barrier Reef Centre of Excellence on Townsville’s waterfront.

The development plans to revitalise and reimagine the first of three new Townsville Waterfront Precincts was unveiled by Townsville Enterprise, Townsville City Council and the Port of Townsville.

The centrepiece of the new precinct is the Great Barrier Reef Aquarium with a renewed focus on cementing Townsville North Queensland’s credentials as the world leader in education and marine science for the Great Barrier Reef.

Whilst Reef HQ, the largest living coral reef aquarium in the world, has been a cornerstone of the North Queensland community for over three decades, the new precinct will see the Aquarium redeveloped to be a more educational, immersive and sustainable experience.

The precinct will also enable greater collaboration amongst the world’s leading marine science facilities, including Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority, AIMS (Australian Institute of Marine Science) and James Cook University.

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Render of the Global Great Barrier Reef Centre of Excellence.

“This is an exciting opportunity for Townsville to put us on the global stage for reef protection and marine science,” said Claudia Brumme-Smith, CEO of Townsville Enterprise.

“We have been working closely behind the scenes to secure a proud community vision for transforming our waterfront to showcase our world leading expertise in marine science, but at the same time enhance the liveability and attraction of our city.

“This new precinct will be the Great Barrier Reef’s front facing educational showcase, solidifying our region as the number one global education and marine science epicentre, that we are.

“We are calling for the Federal Government to support this transformative precinct.”

Townsville City Council Mayor Jenny Hill has put her support behind the precinct emphasising its importance for the Great Barrier Reef.

“Australia’s $56 billion Great Barrier Reef deserves a gateway Aussies can boast about,” Hill said.

“A global showcase for this natural wonder of the world. This is the Questacon or NASA of the Great Barrier Reef, and its purpose far exceeds the significant tourism and economic benefits it provides.

“The importance of this precinct cannot be understated. Having the Great Barrier Reef Aquarium at the heart of our city’s transformation has always been my vision. The challenges of the Great Barrier Reef will be solved here in Townsville, but only if we have a way to educate the world. The Great Barrier Reef Aquarium and the broader precinct is that opportunity.”