Port Douglas & Mossman Gazette - - FEEDBACK -

IT’S good news that there seems to be mo­men­tum build­ing over the brand­ing of the stretch of Cap­tain Cook High­way be­tween Cairns and Port Dou­glas, which could see it take its right­ful place among the na­tion’s iconic drives. A highly val­ued tourism as­set. That de­vel­op­ment fol­lows less heart­en­ing news re­cently the ap­proval by the Great Bar­rier Reef Man­age­ment Au­thor­ity for the dump­ing of waste in World Her­itage wa­ters, which adds to ex­ist­ing com­mu­nity fears about dredg­ing for the Cairns Ship­ping De­vel­op­ment pro­posal.

The health of the reef of course is a universal mat­ter, re­gard­less of which por­tion of it may be un­der threat at any time. All of it mat­ters, to most peo­ple. But it is con­tentious as to what the ac­tual health of the reef is over­all, and in de­tail at any par­tic­u­lar spot. For ex­am­ple, many tour op­er­a­tors who are highly fa­mil­iar with the reef in this area say the outer reefs are in very good shape.

Scep­tics would counter that ‘‘they would say that wouldn’t they’’, as it’s in the op­er­a­tors’ com­mer­cial in­ter­est.

Sim­i­larly, one can’t help but look at the var­i­ous in­ter­ests of reef stake­hold­ers and won­der if their po­si­tion isn’t also out of per­sonal com­mer­cial in­ter­est and even the aca­demics and au­thor­i­ties may not be im­mune to this some­times.

So it’s a com­plex thing, as com­plex as the reef it­self. But bet­ter to be safe than sorry. De­vel­op­ment should hap­pen but only when it’s safe to go ahead.

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