RALLY FOR REEF
Bob Irwin coming to Airlie Beach for weekend rally
RESIDENTS from all walks of life will be joining together to rally for the reef this Sunday in Airlie Beach.
The rally, starting at the northern lagoon car park at 10am, will feature guest speakers including renowned wildlife warrior and Fight for the Reef campaigner Bob Irwin.
Touted as a peaceful community event, the rally has been organised by a local residents’ action group who are working for the protection of the Great Barrier Reef.
Spokesperson for Whitsunday Re- sidents Against Dumping (WRAD), Brittney Gregory, said the group was particularly concerned about the dumping of three million cubic metres of dredge spoil from the port expansion of Abbot Point, to a location inside the marine park, only 50km from the Whitsunday islands and coast.
Ms Gregory said many Whitsunday residents were shocked by the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority’s (GBRMPA) approval of the sea-dumping, considering the potential risks to the clear waters, coral and marine life, that the lifestyles and livelihoods of so many local people were founded on.
Sandra Williams is one of the residents who will be attending the rally because she feels strongly about the cause.
“I’ve been in the very fortunate position within the last 30 years to spend a lot of time in the marine park area and enjoy the beauty and surrounds and it just concerns me that they’re even considering an action like dumping in a World Heritagelisted marine park, because you can only ruin it once,” she said.
“You can’t rectify it once you’ve spoiled it – it’s gone forever.”
Cherry Muddle, a local campaigner for Fight for the Reef, said Sunday’s rally would allow the community to come together and send a strong message that the reef was too important to be used as a dumping ground for dredge spoil.
“The community here is really worried about the impacts of dredging and dumping,” she said.
“Having a World Heritage reef in our backyard is a privilege and an honour, one that is often taken for granted.” The rally will incorporate a march through the lagoon area to a spot near the Airlie Beach market rotunda. Here, Mr Irwin will be joined on the podium by other speakers including June Norman, the 72-year- old grandmother who walked from Cairns to Gladstone last year as part of a push to raise awareness about the current threats to the reef.
There will also be live music and entertainment at the rotunda, starting at 11am.
PASSIONATE PEOPLE: Tamie Scott, Sandra Kelly, Jonathan Peter, Brittney Gregory, Bob Mohle, Barb Adamson, Cherry Muddle, Sandra Williams and Eric Oliver, are just some of the Whitsunday residents who will be rallying for the reef in Airlie Beach this coming weekend.
WILDLIFE WARRIOR: Bob Irwin will be speaking at the Reef Rally in Airlie Beach this weekend.