Many eggs in one bas­ket

Port Douglas & Mossman Gazette - - NEWS -

GRIM state­ments about the con­di­tion of the Great Bar­rier Reef do make one won­der when there will be a cor­re­spond­ing im­pact on vis­i­tor num­bers to our re­gion.

The state of the Reef is a very com­pli­cated thing, and I fre­quently hear highly con­tra­dic­tory ac­counts from peo­ple who, in­di­vid­u­ally, have been look­ing at the un­der­wa­ter won­der­land for many decades and are in a po­si­tion to com­pare fa­mil­iar sites.

Lizard Is­land, for ex­am­ple. It’s a dis­as­ter, or it’s not – equally qual­i­fied peo­ple in my book have told me con­tra­dic­tory ac­counts. It de­pends also on which bits you are talk­ing about. The whole reef is a gi­ant mo­saic and it’s in vary­ing de­grees of stress.

But clearly the Reef is in big trou­ble, and by ex­ten­sion so will our econ­omy be, if things go on this way and sig­nif­i­cant re­cov­ery is not forth­com­ing.

One thing to re­mem­ber is that in ev­ery era there are dooms­day ped­dlers and it’s im­por­tant to keep mat­ters in per­spec­tive and re­tain a cer­tain amount of op­ti­mism while do­ing what you can to im­prove things.

Cli­mate change im­pels us to con­sider var­i­ous strate­gies to cope eco­nom­i­cally. One op­tion for this re­gion is to di­ver­sify away as much as pos­si­ble from a de­pen­dence on reef tourism.

This is why the fast track­ing of the Moss­man Botanic Gar­dens would be a good idea.

Not that I think any gov­ern­ment is go­ing to come up with the $50 mil­lion or so to get it built to­mor­row – but I think they should.

In the great scheme of things, it’s not that much money. Two months ago a gov­ern­ment bul­letin men­tioned how the gov­ern­ment planned to re­fit a Can­berra build­ing — rented! — to ac­com­mo­date two merg­ing gov­ern­ment de­part­ments at a cost of $250 mil­lion. A quarter of a bil­lion, just like that, for of­fices and tech gear . . .

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