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More school kids set to explore Keppel reefs

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Central Queensland reef operators are hoping to entice Queensland schools to experience the local Great Barrier Reef.

Applications have now opened for the State Government's Great Barrier Reef Education Experience Program, which will see excursions to the reef subsidised by the State Government.

Capricorn Enterprise CEO Mary Carroll says it's great to see some support for local reef operators who have been struggling due to the pandemic.

"Two of our operators are on the official list that have been approved and accredited to participate in this program ... Freedom Fast Cats and Keppel Dives and Great Keppel Island Water Sports," Ms Carroll says.

"We have around Keppel some of the best reefs along the entire Great Barrier Reef and we have a lot of hard and soft corals, a lot of colours.

"This is a fantastic opportunity to make sure that students are receiving the highest quality education that they possibly can in regards to the Great Barrier Reef."

Tourism Minister Stirling Hinchliffe says schools could now apply to receive the reef experience school excursion subsidy as part of the three-year program.

“More than 40 registered marine tour operators have already jumped onboard to share their reef knowledge,” Mr Hinchliffe says.

“To ensure schools across the State can be part of the program, the Palaszczuk Government will pay up to $150 for each student joining an overnight reef education excursion and $40 for an eligible day excursion.”

Mr Hinchliffe says the program would deliver a unique outdoor learning opportunity for more than 6000 students.

“Not only will the Reef Education Experience boost the next generation’s understanding of Queensland’s greatest living asset, this also supports local jobs and the tourism industry’s economic recovery,” Mr Hinchliffe says.