SAGA OF THE GREAT BARRIER REEF FOUNDATION
March 29 – The expenditure review committee of cabinet reportedly decides to find a commercial partner for its reef plan.
April 9 – The foundation is offered a $444 million grant at a private meeting between managing director Anna Marsden, chair John Schubert, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, Environment Minister Josh Frydenberg and his department secretary Finn Pratt.
April 29 – The government announces the grant – the single largest allocation of federal money to the reef in Australian history – in a press release.
May 8 – $535.8 million across five years is pledged towards protecting and improving the reef in the federal budget.
May 21 – Senate estimates reveal the foundation was given the record grant without having to go through a tender process and revealing how the money would be spent.
May 29 – The Greens call for an inquiry into the funding.
July 30 – The Senate inquiry reveals the April 9 meeting when grant was offered, with Ms Marsden admitting the foundation ‘did not suggest or make any application’ for the money.
August 6 – Labor sets up a petition calling for the money to be returned, as the prime minister insists the grant process was ‘very thorough’. Ms Marsden says the funding was a complete surprise and claims the foundation has raised $90 million since it was created in 2000.
August 7 – Labor’s Kristina Keneally says the money essentially makes the foundation a grant-making body, so other organisations including the CSIRO and the Marine Park Authority will have to apply to it for funding
August 8 – Labor’s Tony Burke says the foundation’s annual reports do not add up to ‘anywhere near’ $90 million, and the auditor-general considers investigating the grant.