RENEWED CORAL BLEACHING FEARS AIRED AT BUSINESS FORUM
OVER a hundred locals attended the Douglas Business forum, where guests heard about entrepreneurial ideas, stories from rich-lister Chris Morris, and renewed fears about the state of the Reef.
ABC Far North Breakfast host Kier Shorey MC’d the event, starting off with a nod to the Douglas Shire’s provocative Brexit/Trump inspired relocation campaign which triggered a mixed response on social media.
“It’s funny because it’s actually true,” said Mr Shorey, saying the stress of the wider world and even his own job fell away as he found his way to Port Douglas via the Great Barrier Reef Drive.
“So I am going to absolutely second your thought. Forget Donald Trump’s American Carnage and go for the Douglas Carnivale instead.”
Guest speakers included chairman of the Morris Group, Chris Morris, who was up until last year chairman of Computershare, an ASX top-50 global company.
Mr Morris regaled the audience with tales of his experience building up an empire, and the challenges along the way – along with a particular dislike for HR departments.
Local Kelda Wray also shared her experience as an entrepreneur, along with Karlie Albury, Max Sylvester, Gerard and Terese Puglisi and Nicki Jurd, but the star was Douglas Citizen of the Year John Rumney who took to the stage to argue the economic benefits of protecting the reef for tourism, and make a case for an educational approach to the reef.
“We have an opportunity here to develop another strata to our economy, and that would be research tourism – the education of tourists, and volunteer tourists.
“There is a demand around the world for having purpose, or more purpose, not just sitting on the beach.”
Mr Rumney’s advocacy hinged on the health of the reef, and what the locals do to protect it.
“Tourism can either be really beneficial, or really bad for an area depending on how it’s done.
“So with our leadership of our council and our businesses that we have today in this community, we are very lucky to be knowing that our assets are valuable, and doing a really good job of managing them.
“I think we’re way ahead of the rest of the world, and what we need to look at is creating first class tourism products with environmental integrity, and that will lead us to a positive future.”
In his address, where he attacked the media for sensationalising reporting, he said scientists “can’t be responsible for sensational news, but we should be responding and saying yes there’s a problem and we should be doing something about it.
“And maybe the marketing campaign for the next 10 years is come now before it’s too late. And I hate that, I’m the one that’s been out there for 42 years and seeing the declining reef and the fish.
“We want to say yeah this is a serious problem, but look this is still great, but save it before it’s gone.”
Maybe the marketing campaign for the next 10 years is come now before it’s too late
Chris Morris speaking at the 2017 Douglas Business Forum