Reef fight comes to Airlie Beach
MORE than 50 people packed into the Whitsunday PCYC on Tuesday night to learn about the ‘Fight for the Reef’ campaign.
Though Fight for the Reef campaigner Bob Irwin was unable to attend the event, there were plenty of passionate people who spoke instead.
Australian Marine Conservation Society (AMCS) campaign director Felicity Wishart spoke about industrialisation on the Queensland coast and the effects of coal port expansions. She spoke about the proposals for Abbot Point, which could potentially become the largest coal port in the world. She talked about the pressures from dredging, coal dust and shipping on the Great Barrier Reef and she drew alarming parallels between the Whitsundays and Gladstone.
“We can only mine and export minerals once, but we can have the reef forever if we look after it,” she said.
Also speaking at the event was Maria Macdonald from the Abbot Point Action Group. Ms Macdonald spoke about the situation within the Bowen community, where a pro-Abbot Point expansion group also exists. She talked about the threats to the tourism industry and the decision to approve or not to approve the port expansion that now rests with federal environment minister Mark Butler.
“I don’t know what decision he will make – I just hope he makes the right one for the Great Barrier Reef and for our community,” she said.
Bob Irwin did make a virtual appearance in a video address where he told the audience, “the GBR doesn’t belong to the Queensland Government or to the Federal Government”.
“It belongs to every single Australian and every person around the world,” he said.
Ms Wishart and her fellow AMCS campaigners asked community members to contact the minister and raise their concerns or ‘like’ the Abbot Point Action Group and Fight for the Reef Facebook pages.
FIGHTING FOR THE REEF: Lisa Schindler (AMCS), Tony Fontes (OUCH), Cherry Muddle (AMCS), Maria Macdonald (Abbot Point Action Group) and Felicity Wishart (AMCS) spoke passionately about the need to fight for the reef at an information night in Airlie Beach this week.