In 2016, we joined forces with Virgin Australia to launch Reef Aid, a powerful new initiative to reduce soil erosion and improve water quality on the iconic Great Barrier Reef.
Over 150 years of land clearing in the catchment area behind the Reef has resulted in 10,000 hectares of deep eroding gullies. When it rains, fine sediment from these gullies along with nutrients flow from the land onto the Reef where it chokes fish, smothers coral, feeds crown-of-thorns starfish and weakens the fragile marine ecosystem. To add to the problem, we have already lost over 50% of the area’s coastal wetlands – giant kidneys which filter the water before it reaches the Reef.
Through Reef Aid we are working to improve water quality on the Great Barrier Reef by reshaping and revegetating eroding gullies to stop sediment at the source, and to rebuild vital coastal wetlands.
Virgin Australia is passionate about Australian landscapes and the many beautiful destinations to which they fly local and international visitors. By supporting Greening Australia and Reef Aid, Virgin Australia can play an important role in protecting these special places.
Our partnership with Virgin Australia has enabled us to greatly expand public awareness and to attract significant funding for Reef Aid in a relatively short time period. The partnership provides a golden opportunity to raise awareness about Reef Aid amongst the millions of international and national passengers who fly with the airline each year.
Virgin Australia makes a significant contribution to Reef Aid by providing information about the program to their passengers including on-board announcements, in-flight video and magazine, and frequent flyer program, as well as fundraising at their major ports. The airline also promotes Reef Aid to their 10,000 passionate staff members who are provided with opportunities to volunteer with Greening Australia across a range of our projects nationwide.
In addition to Virgin Australia’s major contribution to our awareness and fundraising campaign, generous flight vouchers provided by the airline directly support our on-ground restoration efforts.
The Reef Aid campaign aims to raise $100 million to improve water quality over 46% of the reef. To date, $12 million has been secured for Reef Aid with significant contributions from both government and private sources.
Like me, Virgin Australia is passionate about doing what we can to help save one of the most complex and beautiful natural systems on earthSir Richard Branson, Virgin Group Founder