Re­source coun­cil boss vis­its Air­lie Beach

Whitsunday Times - - LOCAL NEWS -

THE Queens­land Re­sources Coun­cil’s boss vis­ited Bowen and Air­lie Beach last Fri­day.

The min­ing in­dus­try-funded coun­cil's chief ex­ec­u­tive Michael Roche met with tourism oper­a­tors as part of the coun­cil's cam­paign to get its mes­sage across about the health of the Great Bar­rier Reef and im­pact of dredg­ing at Bowen's Ab­bot Point.

The coun­cil ar­gues that scare­mon­ger­ing must be re­placed by a con­certed ef­fort to im­prove sci­en­tific un­der­stand­ing.

Mr Roche said he was sat­is­fied his visit to the re­gion had pro­vided the coun­cil and the com­mu­nity with an in­sight into the con­cerns.

"I think there were two key points to come out of the visit," he said.

"One is that people gen­er­ally sup­port de­vel­op­ments like the one at Ab­bot Point. And two, we have found there is real ap­petite out there for more di­ges­tive sci­en­tificbased in­for­ma­tion about these is­sues."

Mr Roche said anti-min­ing groups had been very ef­fec­tive in "whip­ping up con­cerns about dredg­ing projects" and there was a lot of mis-in­for­ma­tion be­ing spread.

Air­lie Beach tourism op­er­a­tor Al Grundy, who is one of the key rep­re­sen­ta­tives of the group Businesses United for Reef Pro­tec­tion, agreed that sci­en­tific stud­ies into de­clin­ing wa­ter qual­ity were a must.

How­ever, Mr Grundy said stud­ies needed to be in­de­pen­dent and un­bi­ased if they were to con­vince tourism oper­a­tors in the re­gion.

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