Hamilton Island

Reporter: Gavin Alder

Some applications are amusing -- some a little scary. On offer is a $150,000 pay packet for spending six months on Hamilton Island, discovering the many delights of the Great Barrier Reef -- and telling the world how good it is.

Aquatic scientist Sheree Marris is a former Young Australian of the Year who says she's up for it. But she's up against a New Zealander who hosts a kiwi television travel show, a former winner of "The Amazing Race, and Ricky Martin, son of legendary crooner and "Rat Packer", Dean, is also keen.

Then there Michael from the Yukon, plunging into freezing water -- such is the desperation of people to have their video application stand out from the pack.

Queensland Tourism Marketing Director. Steve McRoberts, says the volume and quality of the applications and the resulting media coverage, has gone far beyond his wildest hopes. "It's a bit hard to quantify at the moment in numbers of newspaper cuttings -- that's what we're working through -- and because of the online activity and media pickling it up, we've seen about $70 million in advertising to date", Steve said.

Beyond that, many applicants like Marcella from Canada, have websites getting millions of hits from the internet generation of today, who will hopefully be the Queensland tourists of tomorrow.

Marketing and media commentator, Grant Arnott says the campaign has had advertising money can't buy. "I think it's a really original idea. I love seeing original ideas like this especially in a time when all we're reading about is gloom and doom -- it's great to see an original and relatively inexpensive idea emerge", Grant said.

Already a team of 30 are going through the applications which close on Monday morning. "From there we narrow down the top 50 applicants and we'll post those on the website, islandreefjob.com. From there we'll choose 10 applicants from that 50 and there'll be a wild card for the 11th and that'll be done through a voting process", Steve said.

Those 11 will have their final auditions for the world's best job on Hamilton Island, which no doubt will create even more free publicity for Queensland Tourism.

Applications close at 11am Eastern Daylight Saving Time on Monday morning, that's 10am in Queensland, 10.30am in South Australia and 9am in Western Australia. The website is: www.islandreefjob.com