A stunned Ben Southall (second from right) is named Caretaker of the Islands of the Great Barrier Reef.
By Angela Dorizas
Britain’s Ben Southall has been appointed Caretaker of the Islands of the Great Barrier Reef in the Queensland Government’s innovative Best Job in the World campaign.
Speaking from Hamilton Island, Premier Anna Bligh announced that the 34-year-old Briton had been selected from more than 34,000 applicants to be offered the coveted job of Island Caretaker.
"The Best Job in the World campaign has had people from all corners of the globe talking since its launch in January and has become arguably the most sought-after job in the world," Ms Bligh said.
"I have spent the past few weeks watching in amazement the lengths candidates have gone to in their quest for The Best Job in the World, from scuba diving in a tank in a square in Amsterdam, to riding the London tube in full scuba gear, to embarking on a 12-day whirlwind trip promoting the Islands of the Great Barrier Reef.
"It was a tough challenge for both the candidates and the selection panel and I am proud to announce that on July 1 Ben Southall will become Tourism Queensland’s newest employee as Caretaker of the Islands of the Great Barrier Reef."
Southall has been offered a $150,000 contract for six months. He will be based on Hamilton Island, but is required to explore surrounding islands and report back on his experiences.
Tourism Minister Peter Lawlor said Southall, who previously worked as a tour guide in Africa and as a charity events project manager in the UK, had demonstrated the required skills to perform the caretaker role.
“Throughout the selection process, from the time he was announced in the Top 50, and then the Top 16, Ben has excelled in showing a true passion for Queensland,” Lawlor said.
“His ideas for how he will make the role his own such plus his initiative and ability to rise to a challenge impressed the selection panel and secured his place in the top job.”
The innovative Best Job in the World campaign has already generated more than $110 million in global publicity for the state’s tourism industry.
The State Government anticipates that Southall will continue to raise further global interest in Queensland.
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