Res­i­dents gather for fourth reef hour

Whitsunday Times - - LOCAL NEWS -

ABOUT 30 people gath­ered at the Whit­sun­day VMR club for last week’s Reef Hour IV where speak­ers from tourism, en­vi­ron­men­tal and ma­rine groups gave an up­date on the fight against sead­ump­ing of dredge spoil from the coal port of Ab­bot Point.

A panel, con­sist­ing of busi­ness rep­re­sen­ta­tive Al Grundy, lo­cal ma­rine ad­vi­sory com­mit­tee chair­per­son Tony Fontes, Ab­bot Point Ac­tion Group spokesper­son Maria Macdon­ald and Mackay Con­ser­va­tion Group spokesper­son Pa­tri­cia Julien, spoke about the var­i­ous court chal­lenges, high level meet­ings and com­mu­nity gath­er­ings of the past cou­ple of months.

Pa­tri­cia Julien spoke about re­cent State Govern­ment ap­provals for “monster mines” and com­pul­sory land ac­qui­si­tion deals.

“It’s re­ally hard to get be­tween a politi­cian and a pile of money,” she said.

Maria Macdon­ald said the Ab­bot Point Ac­tion Group cat­e­gor­i­cally op­posed any off­shore dump­ing of dredge spoil from the coal port and was call­ing for al­ter­na­tive meth­ods to be found.

She spoke about the abil­ity for coal dust and dredge plumes to travel vast dis­tances and the po­ten­tial im­pacts this could have on the Whit­sun­day is­lands and neigh­bour­ing bar­rier reef.

Al Grundy dropped a bomb­shell about a re­cent meet­ing with federal en­vi­ron­ment min­is­ter Greg Hunt.

Mr Grundy said tourism oper­a­tors from the re­gion trav­elled to Bris­bane to meet with the Min­is­ter about five weeks ago where they were told by the Min­is­ter that they were La­bor sup­port­ers and should not be speak­ing to the me­dia.

“I would sug­gest the ac­tions we’ve ac­tu­ally been tak­ing with go­ing to the me­dia are cut­ting deep and hav­ing an im­pact,” Mr Grundy said.

Also at the reef hour event, dis­cus­sions were held about up­com­ing events.

This Satur­day, March 29 is Earth Hour and the 2014 theme is lights out for the reef.

Mark Ogge from the Aus­tralia In­sti­tute will also be in town to­day (Thurs­day, March 27) to present key find­ings from re­search into the eco­nomic im­pacts of the min­ing boom. The pre­sen­ta­tion will be held at the Air­lie Beach Ho­tel con­fer­ence room from 5.30pm.

For more in­for­ma­tion con­tact Gemma Ples­man on 0423 044 431.

REEF HOUR: Brit­tney Gre­gory (Whit­sun­day Res­i­dents Against Dump­ing), Maria Macdon­ald (Ab­bot Point Ac­tion Group), Al Grundy (Businesses United for Reef Pro­tec­tion) and Pa­tri­cia Julien (Mackay Con­ser­va­tion Group), spoke about the chal­lenges cur­rently fac­ing the reef at a Reef Hour IV, which was held at the Cannonvale VMR club last week.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.