Whit­sun­day tourism op­er­a­tors con­cerned about Ab­bot Point

Whitsunday Times - - LOCAL NEWS -

WHIT­SUN­DAY tourism op­er­a­tors con­tinue to be con­cerned about the ex­pan­sion of Ab­bot Point.

Whit­sun­day Char­ter Boat In­dus­try (WCBIA) pres­i­dent Tony Brown said he had been left an­gry by the State Govern­ment’s re­sponse to his con­cerns for greater pro­tec­tion of the tourism in­dus­try in the Whit­sun­day is­lands from in­dus­tri­al­i­sa­tion at Ab­bot Point.

He said the Govern­ment’s re­sponse ac­knowl­edged the im­por­tance of the tourism in­dus­try and its re­liance on the Great Bar­rier Reef – but failed to ad­dress any of his con­cerns.

“The WCBIA rep­re­sents 75 per cent of tourism in the Whit­sun­days is­lands - we are call­ing on the State and Fed­eral Govern­ment to pro­tect the reef and halt mega-port de­vel­op­ments at Ab­bot Point and Mackay,” he said.

“If port ex­pan­sions are ap­proved, the Whit­sun­days will be wedged be­tween two of the largest coal ports in the world.

The govern­ment has failed to ac­knowl­edge that, por­tray­ing the Ab­bot Point port ex­pan­sion as a pos­i­tive,” he said.

“Dredg­ing mil­lions of cu­bic me­tres of sea bed is not a pos­i­tive,” he said.

“Once dumped, this dis­carded sed­i­ment won’t stay in one place. It will move and choke coral and marine life.

“From my per­spec­tive, it’s not about op­pos­ing Ab­bot Point ex­pan­sion. It’s about sup­port­ing the Great Bar­rier Reef and the jobs that rely on it,” Mr Brown said.

“We do not want see Ab­bot Point fac­ing the same fate that has hap­pened in Glad­stone.”

Both the State and Fed­eral mem- bers told the Whit­sun­day Times they would be happy to meet with the WCBIA.

Fed­eral Mem­ber for Daw­son Ge­orge Chris­tensen said he was dis­ap­pointed that North Queens­land Bulk Ports had not li­aised with the WCBIA.

He said he was try­ing to co-or­di­nate a meet­ing be­tween the two groups but said it was not likely to hap­pen be­fore the elec­tion.

State Mem­ber for Whit­sun­day Ja­son Costi­gan said he had long held the view that the re­gion could have the best of both worlds and that tourism and the re­source in­dus­try could co-ex­ist.

“Both in­dus­tries can work hand in hand,” he said.

Mr Costi­gan said he would en­cour­age mem­bers of the WCBIA to con­tact his of­fice.

CON­CERNED: WCBIA pres­i­dent Tony Brown is con­cerned about the im­pacts of ex­pan­sion and dredg­ing at Ab­bot Point.

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