May 19, 2020

Government Promises Reef Relief

great barrier reef
Bizclik Editor
2 min
Government Promises Reef Relief

Following last year’s criticisms from the UN body UNESCO, the federal government has vowed to end any coal port or shipping developments that could cause “unacceptable” harm to the Great Barrier Reef.

A rapid increase in coastal and port developments located near the reef caused “significant concern, according to the UNESCO. If conditions did not change, the reef’s conservation status may have to be revised to a world heritage area “in danger.”

The Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act requires Queensland’s government to meet specific criteria before further port developments are allowed in sensitive areas like Gladstone. This supports UNESCO’s request for the government to not allow new port developments outside of existing industrial sites.

The Environment Minister, Tony Burke, said he is confident the strict application of the Act, changes in future coal production and shipping estimates will keep the reef’s world heritage status.

“Yes, it will,” Burke said. “UNESCO wanted the government to establish a benchmark that they wanted us to meet, and it has been met. The development approvals that have happened [since the UNESCO report] have been consistent with that.”

Federal environment regulations to meet the world heritage committee requirements will be applied whenever possible, Burke added.

The coal and gas boom in Queensland drove the increase in shipping, but the Australia Bureau of Resources and Energy Economics have reduced these initial estimates, according to a report released Friday.

Despite these promises and attempts to protect the reef, doubts still exist from environment groups like the Australian Marine Conservation Society and WWF.

“The sheer size and speed of port and associated development along the reef coast is unprecedented,'' said Felicity Wishart, the conservation society's campaign director. “Australians love the reef. It's the centrepiece of Queensland's $6 billion dollar reef tourism industry. But this is a wake-up call.”

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Jun 7, 2021

Business Chief Legend: Ho Ching, CEO of Temasek

3 min
Singaporean Ho Ching created the largest listed defence engineering company in Asia, before leading Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund to global success

Ask Singaporeans who Ho Ching is, and the majority will answer the ‘wife of Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong’. And that’s certainly true. However, she’s also the CEO of Temasek Holdings, Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund, and one of the world’s largest investment companies.

Well, she is until October 1, 2021, as she recently announced she would be retiring following 16 years as CEO of the investment giant.

Since taking the reins in 2004, two years after joining Temasek as Executive Director, Ho has gradually transformed what was an investment firm wholly owned by Singapore’s Government into an active investor worldwide, splashing out on sectors like life sciences and tech, expanding its physical footprint with 11 offices worldwide (from London to Mumbai to San Francisco) and delivering growth of US$120 billion between 2010-2020.

Described by Temasek chairman Lim Boon Heng as having taken “bold steps to open new pathways in finding the character of the organisations”, Ho is credited with building Temasek’s international portfolio, with China recently surpassing Singapore for the first time.

As global a footprint as Ho may have however, she has her feet firmly planted on Singapore soil and is committed to this tiny city-state where she was not only educated (excluding a year at Stanford) but has remained throughout her long and illustrious career – first as an engineer at the Ministry of Defence in 1976, where she met her husband, and most notably as CEO of Singapore Technologies, where she spent a decade, and where she is credited with repositioning and growing the group into the largest listed defence engineering company in Asia.

It’s little wonder Ho has featured on Forbes’ annual World’s Most Powerful Women list for the past 16 years, in 2007 as the third most powerful woman in business outside the US, and in 2020 at #30 worldwide.

But it’s not all business. Ho has a strong track record in Singapore public service, serving as chairman of the Singapore Institute of Standards and Industrial Research and as deputy chairman of the Economic Development Board; and is a committed philanthropist with a focus on learning difficulties and healthcare.

As the pandemic kicked off, she not only led active investments in technology and life sciences, with German COVID-19 vaccine developer BioNTech among the most recent additions to Temasek’s portfolio, but through the Temasek Foundation – the firm’s philanthropic arm which supports vulnerable groups close to Ho’s heart, handed out hand sanitiser and face masks.

So, you would be forgiven for thinking that at age 68, Ho might simply relax. But in March 2021, just as she announced her retirement from Temasek, Ho joined the Board of Directors of Wellcome Leap, a US-based non-profit organisation that’s dedicated to accelerating innovations in global health. Not ready to put her firmly grounded feet up yet it seems.


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