Anna works in our Strategic Governance team, but this is just one of the many hats that she has worn while working at the Reef Authority over the past 35 years. Since starting her career with us at Reef HQ Aquarium as one of the first guides on opening day, Anna has worked in a variety of roles across the organisation. As a business manager with a passion for diving and underwater photography, Anna says that she hit the jackpot when she started working for the Reef Authority. We caught up with Anna to find out how she sees the Reef, why she loves the Reef and how she goes about protecting the Reef.
Anna cleaning the predator tank at Reef HQ Aquarium when it first opened 35 years ago.
I hit the jackpot when I started working for the Reef Authority
What is the coolest thing you have seen on the Reef?
The coolest thing I've seen is a tiger shark. It was at night, while I was watching a hammerhead shark. Despite how terrified people are of them, it was just amazing to see this awesome creature in the wild. It's a predator but at the same time, it's just such a majestic animal. You can't explain the feeling you get when you see something that large and so amazing, just free and allowed to do its own thing.
What do you love most about the Reef?
The Reef is a unique, complex marine environment. It's a special place to so many people and there is nothing like it on earth. It has a special place for not only Queenslanders but Australians and the world in general. The Reef has so many interesting elements in it from extreme beauty to ugliness (take a look at these ugly but awesome animals). But they all work together to make this unique environment and home for a multitude of amazing animals and plants. It's more than just corals. I like the idea of being able to show all aspects to people. It is especially rewarding when you’re able to engage with very young and elderly people who have limited experiences of the Reef, helping them understand how complex it is and how our actions can impact the smallest elements.
What would you tell someone who asked, “How can I protect the Reef?"
From the perspective of us doing our bit for the Reef, we can be more conscious about being green in our approach to life. If you cannot afford an electric car, consider a hybrid car for your next purchase. Look at the way you dispose of your waste in your house and the products you buy. Little things can make a big difference. Even the way you wash your car, making sure you use green products because toxins contained in the wrong products can easily go down the drain and out to the Reef. Using environmentally-friendly bags instead of plastic bags. Even if you're walking along the beach, taking something with you to collect rubbish is a good thing. You might feel like you're doing stuff in one small area, but you're helping the bigger picture.
Collectively, all of those things will help improve the Reef. Think about how you would want your children to see the Reef in the future. And when you do that, then think about how you are doing things around your home, and how a small change can make a difference. Sometimes we think that it's too big for one person but if you start chipping away at little things, collectively we can really make a difference.
We can all do something by just thinking a bit greener.
Behind the scenes
What is Strategic Governance at the Reef Authority?
Whenever you say to anyone that you are working for the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority, instantly there is a connection with the individual because you're working for the Reef and the Reef is such an iconic and beautiful place.
As public servants the Reef Authority is responsible for reporting to the minister on behalf of Australian people, and we don’t take this responsibility lightly. There are checks and balances to ensure we are accountable and transparent in managing the Reef on their behalf.
The Strategic Governance Section helps ensure we have the right systems in place to ensure we comply with our legal requirements. The team also provides ministerial and parliamentary support including managing correspondence Our team provides secretariat support to the Marine Park Authority’s board, Reef advisory committees that involve stakeholders such as First Nations and the tourism sector. The team is focused on what is in place now and how we can improve going forward, to make it work better not just for us, but for our stakeholders and the Reef as well.
“We work behind the scenes to allow people to go on and do their job with confidence that they're doing the right thing. I think it's a critically important role in helping to manage the Reef.” – Anna