" Within weeks of learning it would receive a grant worth nearly half a billion dollars, the Great Barrier Reef (GBR) Foundation treated mining and banking executives to a weekend of snorkelling and sunset drinks. "
" Key points:
Some of Australia's biggest companies pay $20,000 to the join the Great Barrier Reef Foundation's "Chairman's Panel"
About 75 per cent of that money goes towards saving the reef, rest goes to working holiday trip to Hamilton Island
Federal Labor says donations should go towards saving the reef and not "making donors happy"
" The "Chairman's Panel Weekend" at a luxury resort on Hamilton Island was billed as a way for executives to hear directly from scientists and experts working to save the reef.
But the trip also included accommodation and meals at the expensive Qualia Resort, trips to yacht clubs and guided snorkelling tours."
" Attendance was only available to the affiliates who paid the $20,000 foundation membership fee, including BHP, JP Morgan, Rio Tinto, Shell, AGL, Commonwealth Bank, Deutsche Bank, Boral Limited and many other companies. "
" The foundation set 25 per cent of that fee aside to fund the Hamilton Island trip, rather than ensuring all of it was spent on projects to improve the reef "
"A GBR Foundation spokeswoman said not all executives went on the trip and that they had no say in what projects the foundation funds.
"Costs associated with this are fully paid for via their membership fees and no taxpayer dollars, grants or other donations received by the GBRF are used."
" The GBR Foundation has charitable status, which means the majority of the membership fee is tax-deductible. "