Community representatives discuss Reef's future

Published: 26/10/2012

Community stakeholders from Cape York to Bundaberg will gather in Townsville this weekend to discuss the future management of the Great Barrier Reef.

Chairs and members from 12 Local Marine Advisory Committees will meet with senior staff from the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority (GBRMPA) for the two-day workshop.

GBRMPA Chair Dr Russell Reichelt said engaging with local communities was an essential part of managing the Marine Park.

"The Marine Park plays an important role in the lifestyles and livelihoods of hundreds of thousands of Queenslanders. Listening to local views and experiences helps us to manage the Reef now and better plan for its protection in the long term.

“The feedback we receive this weekend on what the community’s value about the Reef, what and where the issues are and whether management arrangements are working at a ground level, will help inform the assessment we are taking of the Reef,” Dr Reichelt said.

As agreed with the Australian Environment Minister, GBRMPA and Queensland are undertaking this strategic assessment. GBRMPA will identify the values of and risks to the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area while the Queensland Government is assessing the adjacent coastal zone.  

Cairns Committee Chair Paul Gregory said the workshop was a valuable chance to voice local issues and discuss shared concerns with representatives from other regions.

“Our communities stretch for over 2000 km along the Queensland coast. We’re all different in terms of our local history, economy and even our local mindset, but we also share a lot in common. The Reef is a vital part of our communities and we want to ensure its long-term protection and sustainable use,” Mr Gregory said.

Other issues on the agenda for the workshop include inshore biodiversity, the outlook for coastal ecosystems and a proposed heritage strategy for the Reef. Representatives will tour the upgraded Reef Vessel Tracking System facility managed by the Australian Maritime Safety Authority.        

Established in 1999, Local Marine Advisory Committees meet five times a year to advise GBRMPA on marine issues and undertake regional environmental projects. The Committees represent a diverse cross-section of coastal communities including tour operators, Traditional Owners, farmers, fishers conservationists and representatives from state government.

“These community representatives volunteer their time to provide advice to us on Marine Park management issues and I thank them for agreeing to be part of this valuable forum,” Dr Reichelt said.

The committees operate in the Cape York, Douglas, Cairns, Cassowary Coast, Hinchinbrook, Townsville, Bowen-Burdekin, Whitsundays, Mackay, Capricorn Coast, Gladstone and Burnett regions.

Name: GBRMPA Media
Contact: (07) 4750 0846