Whitsunday stakeholders join workshop on Reef's future

Published: 01/11/2012

Whitsunday community representatives joined others from Cape York to Bundaberg over the weekend to discuss the future management of the Great Barrier Reef.

The two-day workshop is an annual meeting of representatives from 12 Local Marine Advisory Committees  and senior staff from the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority.

Whitsunday Local Marine Advisory Committee member Emily Smart said presentations and discussions focused mainly on the sourcing local input to the strategic assessment. 

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.  

“It was a valuable opportunity to inform GBRMPA about the issues facing the World Heritage Area in our region and really define what we value about the Reef in the Whitsundays. The meeting was a chance to provide local information on the pressures the reef is facing, such as water quality,” Ms Smart said.

“The outcomes of the assessment will be important for the future of the Reef, and our community: it underpins our tourism industry and our lifestyle.”

GBRMPA Chair Russell Reichelt thanked the community representatives for giving up their time to provide valuable feedback and advice on Reef management.

“The delegates represented a wide range of community stakeholders including tour operators, Traditional Owners, farmers, conservationists and fishers.

“They brought a wide range of views and experiences to the workshop and it was great to get their input.

“We hope to bring everyone back together early next year for a final round of briefings and comments prior to release of the draft strategic assessment reports for public comment.”

Other issues discussed at the meeting included inshore biodiversity, the outlook for coastal ecosystems and a proposed heritage strategy for the Great Barrier Reef. They also toured the upgraded Reef Vessel Tracking System facility managed by the Australian Maritime Safety Authority.

Established in 1999, the Bowen-Burdekin Local Marine Advisory Committee meets five times a year to advise GBRMPA on marine issues and undertake regional environmental projects.

Local Marine Advisory Committees also operate in the Cape York, Douglas, Cairns, Cassowary Coast, Hinchinbrook, Townsville, Bowen-Burdekin, Mackay, Capricorn Coast, Gladstone and Burnett regions. 

Name: GBRMPA Media
Contact: (07) 4750 0846