Spill has stain of dis­re­spect for our Reef

Townsville Bulletin - - OPINION -

LET’S hope those re­spon­si­ble for the oil spill on North Queens­land beaches are brought to jus­tice.

Given the scale of the spill, it is in­con­ceiv­able that the per­pe­tra­tors would not have been aware of the ugly black stain they were leav­ing on the Great Bar­rier Reef.

Blobs of oil have been spot­ted along a 250km stretch of coast­line, in­clud­ing at Hinch­in­brook Is­land, Lucinda, Palm Is­land and For­rest Beach.

Although a sig­nif­i­cant event, it does not ap­pear the Reef has suf­fered any longterm dam­age.

It is, how­ever, a re­minder of how vul­ner­a­ble the North’s coast­line is to ma­jor oil spills and reaf­firms the need for strin­gent reg­u­la­tion of ship­ping in the World Her­itage area.

Mar­itime Safety Queens­land has so far tracked down nine of 14 ships trav­el­ling through the area at the time, and taken oil sam­ples for test­ing. The re­sults of those tests are pend­ing. The ship­ping in­dus­try has al­ways been im­por­tant to the North.

But res­i­dents do not take kindly to any­one flout­ing the law when it comes to pro­tect­ing the Reef.

Once caught, those re­spon­si­ble need to be sent a strong mes­sage that the Reef is not a dump­ing ground.

Any penalty im­posed should in­clude a hefty fine that hits them in the hip pocket where it hurts. State­hood an is­sue in North too TALK of the North­ern Ter­ri­tory be­com­ing Aus­tralia’s sev­enth state is un­der­stand­ably stir­ring up ad­vo­cates of state­hood for North Queens­land.

Af­ter all, more peo­ple live here in NQ than the whole of NT.

Our econ­omy is also big­ger than that of the Ter­ri­tory.

North Queens­land res­i­dents al­ready feel they are un­der- rep­re­sented in the Fed­eral Par­lia­ment.

That frus­tra­tion is likely to in­crease if NT gets the nod to be­come its own state.

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