Dr Russell Reichelt, GBRMPA (middle)  with Reef Guardian Farmers and Graziers project manager Kate Steel (left) and cane grower Rob Radke.
Dr Russell Reichelt, GBRMPA (middle) with Reef Guardian Farmers and Graziers project manager Kate Steel (left) and cane grower Rob Radke. Contributed

Reef chief rejects mining conflict of interest concern

THE chief of the authority that manages the Great Barrier Reef has rejected concerns about the influence mining executives might have over taxpayer-funded research a private foundation controls.

Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority chairman Russell Reichelt has been a board member of the Great Barrier Reef Foundation since 2004.

He responded to some questions in a statement.

Mr Reichelt did not answer questions about potential conflicts of interest on the board, saying only the foundation had "strong governance procedures in place".

"The foundation, through its board and various committees, provides a good cross-section of scientific, management, corporate and government experience in deciding how and where to channel private and public investment," he said.

Read the full media response from the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority

Mr Reichelt said it was important for the foundation to work with the GBRMPA to ensure research projects were "relevant and well-targeted", and his role on the board and scientific advisory committee "helps facilitate that".

He cited the GBRMPA general manager Bruce Elliot's role on the foundation's research adoption group to ensure "research products are useful".

Mr Elliot controversially signed off on the approval of three million cubic metres of dredging at Abbot Point.

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