Department of the Environment

Archived media releases and speeches

The Hon Tony Burke MP

Minister for Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities

Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority chairman reappointed

Media release
30 October 2012

Dr Russell Reichelt has been reappointed as chairman of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority for a second five-year term, Environment Minister Tony Burke announced today.

“I’m really glad Dr Russell Reichelt will continue leading the excellent work being undertaken by the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority,” he said.

“He has a wealth of knowledge of the Great Barrier Reef as both a researcher and marine manager, and is well-regarded in the field of marine science.

“Over the last five years Dr Reichelt has done an exemplary job leading the management of the Great Barrier Reef at a time when it faces a number of challenges.

“The Great Barrier Reef is an amazing natural treasure, and I’m pleased to continue working with Dr Reichelt to ensure it is protected for the future.”

As Chairman, Dr Reichelt has been involved in a number of major initiatives including the 2009 Great Barrier Reef Outlook Report which provided an overview of the Reef’s health, highlighting it was at a crossroads and more protection was needed.

Under his leadership, the highly successful Reef Guardian stewardship program expanded to include 113,000 students from over 285 schools as well as 14 Councils.

The agency also strengthened its work with Traditional Owners, expanded water quality monitoring, and implemented an extreme weather response program after cyclone Yasi.

Dr Reichelt also supported the concept of a strategic assessment of the Great Barrier Reef region to examine how multiple pressures from multiple activities are affecting the Reef. It follows the World Heritage Committee expressing concern about the impact of coastal development along the Queensland coast on the marine environment.

He has a strong interest in the Great Barrier Reef – he’s been diving on the Reef since 1968 and graduated with honours in science from the University of Queensland in 1974.

During the 1980s he worked as a research scientist at the Australian Institute of Marine Science studying coral reef ecology, particularly the crown-of-thorns starfish. He has a PhD in marine science and was CEO of the Australian Institute of Marine Science for five years.

Dr Reichelt has been a board member for a number of environmental and marine management organisations, and chaired environmental advisory committees. He is an Adjunct Professor at James Cook University and the University of Queensland.