Many eggs in one basket
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 . . .