The Lady Elliot Island Eco Resort is dedicated to the preservation of the natural environment of the Great Barrier Reef. Island Management has reduced energy consumption and carbon emissions by introducing a combination of solar and gas technology, water desalination and various strategic behavioural adaptations on the island. In conjunction with GBRMPA, Lady Elliot Island has developed the first dedicated Climate Change Trail and Tour around the island to highlight the impacts that climate change could have on a coral cay eco system. Our goal is to work in harmony with nature for the benefit of future generations.
In order to operate on a sustainable basis without impacting the Marine National Park, the Lady Elliot Island Eco Resort employs a number of measures to protect the environment of the island and surrounds in conjunction with the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority (GBRMPA). Most importantly, our staff are very passionate and really care about the reef and the Island’s fragile eco-system. Just take one of our guided tours and you will immediately realise, through their knowledge and guidance, the interrelationships of nature and the need to respect and preserve.
Peter Gash, the Managing Director and current leaseholder, took over the guardianship of Lady Elliot Island Resort in 2005 and has made a number of sweeping changes to make the Resort carbon neutral. Peter and his partners reinvest all profits in to the improvement of the resort for the benefit of staff, guests and the environment. Since 2005, Management have continued the revegetation program on LEI (the island was mined for guano, bird poo, in the 1800’s and almost stripped bare of all vegetation) and continue with the removal of weed and pest species.
“Lady Elliot Island Eco Resort operates on the “Four E’s” Philosophy: To look after our Environment we need to be Efficient, Economically Sustainable and able to Educate effectively.”
The current management were instrumental in flying the then Director/Chairman of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority (GBRMPA), the late Virginia Chadwick to Lady Elliot Island and convincing her of the Island’s value and beauty which subsequently led to the Island and its surrounding waters being declared a designated ‘Green Zone’ (the highest category of protection available). Since that time of declaration in 2005, the marine biodiversity has flourished and is now approaching levels of marine wildlife similar to what it was prior to when fishing and spear fishing were permitted in the area.
In 2007, with further collaboration with GBRMPA, Queensland Parks and Wildlife (QPWS) and local fishing operators, Lady Elliot Island Eco Resort supported, pushed for and received a ‘No Anchor Zone’ surrounding the Island which has further enhanced the protection of the reef quality. Our team are constantly reviewing and improving quality standards of the resort operations and implementing eco initiatives to make the island a role model in best environmental practice. As a result, Lady Elliot Island Eco Resort has been awarded with Advanced Eco Certification by Ecotourism Australia.
The Eco Resort’s transition to renewable energy was spearheaded by the construction in 2008 of a large hybrid solar power station, which together with station upgrades, additional solar panels directly feeding the island’s power grid and ongoing energy efficiency efforts, has reduced the resort’s use of diesel fuel from over 500 litres a day to less than 200 litres a day. We have made remarkable progress on many environmental management fronts since taking over the lease and some examples during the past 12 months include commissioning a new waste water treatment plant, renovating the island’s heritage listed lighthouse, increasing the amount of solar panels on the island to 186 and ceasing the sale of plastic water bottles to reduce waste.
Ecological sustainability is closely linked to our Product, Business Plans and Marketing Strategies and goes beyond simple environmental management, strictly adhered to as detailed in our Environmental Management System (EMS). The key themes that underpin our sustainable eco-tourism business are education and knowledge sharing, transition to renewable energy, good environmental management and steering the resort’s business, the island heritage and biodiversity values towards outcomes that we wish the next generation to inherit with climate change impacts looming as a major challenge in coming years.
Our team recognises that sustainability is an ongoing journey with incremental steps continuing to be taken as our knowledge widens and technology improves. Good environmental management is achieved through our detailed Environmental Management System. Lady Elliot Island Eco Resort has made remarkable progress on many environmental management fronts since taking over the Resort lease 8 years ago.
Operating an island resort 80km out to sea presents a multitude of challenges on a daily basis. The island generates its own power, desalinates seawater for drinking purposes, maintains a waste water treatment plant and recycles the majority of its rubbish. The Resort has gained a wealth of knowledge in these technologies and has set new benchmarks for sustainable tourism on the Great Barrier Reef.