Locals set to champion marine advisory board
DOUGLAS residents have become champions of the Great Barrier Reef with a new marine advisory board elected to ensure it stays in pristine condition.
Whyanbeel resident Robert Hanan was elected chairman of the Douglas Local Marine Advisory Committee last week for the next three-year term of the newly elected committee.
Mr Hanan, a well-known advocate on many issues, including the Friends of Douglas Shire, welcomed the opportunity for the Douglas region to be heard on matters concerning the health of the reef.
“The Great Barrier Reef holds cultural significance to many people in our community and its health is critical to people’s livelihoods in the Douglas region,” Mr Hanan said.
“That is why it’s crucial for us to be able to share our local experiences and concerns on how the reef is managed now and in the future.
“Our members bring local perspectives and experiences from a variety of backgrounds including tourism, conservation, farming, fishing and government.
“However, we would welcome additional input from traditional owners and the commercial fishing industry to ensure all local interests are met.”
Miallo cane and cocoa grower Gerard Puglisi, who has also been elected to the committee, said it would offer a good insight into the reef and how agriculture and industry can play its part.
“It is in all of our interests to make sure the health of the reef is maintained and cared for as best as we possibly can,” Mr Puglisi said.
“Being on this committee will give us from the agricultural and industry’s point of view an insight into what changes concerning the reef take place from time to time and allow us input to address any issues concerning the reef.”
Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority chairman Russell Reichelt said the committee would play an essential role in the future management of the Great Barrier Reef.
“We will be looking to our committees for advice on how we achieve a balance between sustainable use and protecting the reef for the future,” he said.
“They will contribute to the strategic assessment of the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area that will identify the reef’s values, the threats and what we need to do to address them when they appear.”
The Douglas LMAC area covers the Bloomfield River in the north to Buchan Point in the south.
The next meeting of LMAC will be on September 11.