Department of the Environment

Archived media releases and speeches

Senator the Hon Don Farrell

Parliamentary Secretary for Sustainability and Urban Water

Reef HQ Aquarium makes a splash for silver jubilee

Media release
11 November 2012
DF12/056

The world's largest living coral reef aquarium, Reef HQ Aquarium in Townsville, now in its 25th year, is bigger, brighter and better than ever following the completion of a major $4 million refurbishment.

Officially opening the refurbished facilities today, Senator Don Farrell, Parliamentary Secretary for Sustainability and Urban Water, said Reef HQ Aquarium is now more than ever a ‘must-see’ for anyone visiting or living in Townsville.

“Visitors now will enjoy a richer reef experience with the underwater viewing tunnel upgraded in what can only be described as a very impressive engineering feat,” Senator Farrell said.

“Other new living exhibitions include a colourful coral reef tank, the rainforest tree and discovery lagoon – all designed to give visitors a greater understanding of the links between land and the sea.

“The facility now boasts state-of-the-art eco-friendly features, including one of the country’s largest roof-mounted solar power systems.

“Alongside the solar power system, a number of energy-saving devices are reducing the aquarium's energy consumption by an impressive 50 per cent.

“Reef HQ Aquarium is now at the forefront of business sustainability and must be congratulated.”

Reef HQ Aquarium has been introducing visitors to the wonders of the Great Barrier Reef for 25 years, ensuring they have a better understanding of the values of this natural wonder.

The aquarium, which is the Australian Government’s National Education Centre for the Great Barrier Reef, is recognised nationally and internationally as a centre of excellence in environmental education and recently took out the ecotourism category of the North Queensland Tourism Awards.

Senator Farrell said after 25 years of operation the aquarium was in need of an upgrade.

“The Australian Government contributed $4 million to ensuring Reef HQ Aquarium continues to enthral and educate people from throughout Australia and all over the world about the natural wonder that is the Great Barrier Reef,” Senator Farrell said.

“Since first opening in 1987, Reef HQ Aquarium has received over 3.4 million visitors and now, in its 25th year, I think this upgrade will make it an even more popular destination.”

2012 marks the silver jubilee year for Reef HQ Aquarium and the Australian Government is committed to the operation of the National Education Centre for the Great Barrier Reef.