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Alice studied Marine Biology at James Cook University in Townsville, but this is not where her love for the Reef started.  

“As a seven-year-old, we went on a family holiday to the Great Barrier Reef. From that moment when I swam with the fish amongst the coral at Arlington Reef, I knew that’s what I wanted to be.” 

Alice works in the spatial planning team, oversees the Zoning Plan, the Plans of Management, site plans, and special management areas, and provides advice with regard to interpreting legislation.

“…managing how people interact with the Marine Park is really important. There are so many pressures on the reef, and so many of them are beyond our control.

But how we interact with the Marine Park is one of the things that we can influence and have a say over. Being able to make those decisions and protect the values of the marine park is something I am very passionate about.” 

Alice White Senior Planning Officer - Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority

What made you want to work for the Reef Authority? 

“After studying uni at James Cook University and completing my honours on the foraging ecology of green turtles, I fell in love with Townsville and the Marine Park.

I wanted to be able to work in a space where we don’t just find information or what is wrong but be able to work to fix issues and manage the Marine Park in an ecologically sustainable way. Working at the Reef Authority allows me to do this.

And doing this means that everyone can have those special moments like I did when I was seven years old.” 

What do you love most about the Great Barrier Reef? 

“I think it's one of the most special and unique places on the planet. I've been lucky to be able to dive on the Reef several times.

Every time, I am still blown away by how special it is; every visit is different, and every day on the Reef is different. It's its own little hub of life, and it's amazing just watching the diversity of life in the Marine Park. 

Alice White - Senior Planning Officer Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority

What is the most important thing to you about your job? 

“The Reef has no voice. It cannot protect itself. The Reef Authority brings our partners and stakeholders together to help the Reef be heard. We can help the Reef be protected.

That's the importance of the Reef Authority; to bring all those people who are passionate about the Reef, all those people with knowledge about the reef together.

To be able to bring together Traditional Owners who have been managing the reef for thousands of years to the table as along with scientists, rangers, tourism operators, and everybody that has the knowledge to help the Reef. The Marine Park is such a special place, and to be able to assist in managing it is a privilege.  

Alice White Senior Planning Officer - Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority

What advice would you give to others wanting to help protect the Reef? 

“There's no single answer to that. There are so many different things which you can do — from little things like keeping your air conditioner off when you don't need it to pick up rubbish along the beach. Every little thing matters.

The other really important thing we can all do is get out and see the Reef: go dive, go snorkelling, go out on the boat and go fishing.

Remind yourself how special it is and how lucky we are to live on the coast of the Marine Park, and then go tell everybody else about it.

The Reef is under pressure, and it is going to take a collective effort to combat climate change and make an impact on our Reef.

The more people that know how special this place is, the better chance we'll have to protect it.” 

Find out more about what Alice works on  

  • What is the Zoning Plan? 
  • Zoning helps to manage and protect the values of the Marine Park that people enjoy. Each zone has different rules for the activities that are allowed, the activities that are prohibited, and the activities that require a permit. Zones may also place restrictions on how some activities are conducted. 
  • Find out more 


  • Location-specific management 
  • Most rules apply throughout the Marine Park — like Marine Park zoning that outlines what you can do in each location — however, some are specifically related to popular areas, certain activities and sensitive locations. 
  • Find out more 

Alice White Senior Planning Officer - Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority

Updated 15 Feb 2023
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