New bench­mark part­ner­ship to fo­cus on health of wa­ter­ways

Whitsunday Times - - LOCAL NEWS -

A BENCH­MARK part­ner­ship to help safe­guard and mon­i­tor the health of the Mackay-Whit­sun­day coast wa­ter­ways and marine en­vi­ron­ment was of­fi­cially launched by Queens­land Min­is­ter for En­vi­ron­ment and Her­itage Pro­tec­tion, An­drew Pow­ell, last week in Mackay.

Mr Pow­ell joined more than 20 Whit­sun­day, Mackay and wider Queens­land or­gan­i­sa­tions to launch the new ‘Healthy Rivers to Reef Part­ner­ship’, which will over­see the pro­duc­tion of an an­nual re­gional water­way health re­port card, build­ing off the highly suc­cess­ful Mack­ayWhit­sun­day Wa­ter Qual­ity Im­prove­ment Plan.

The re­port card will fo­cus ex­clu­sively on wa­ter­ways in the Mackay-Whit­sun­day re­gion, in­clud­ing fresh­wa­ter rivers, wet­lands, es­tu­ar­ies and coast and marine en­vi­ron­ments.

The new part­ner­ship will be jointly co-or­di­nated on the ground by Reef Catch­ments (Mackay Whit­sun­days Isaac) Limited and NQ Dry Trop­ics NRM.

Reef Catch­ments CEO, Robert Cocco, said the col­lab­o­ra­tion was another step for­ward bring­ing to­gether not only in­dus­try, sci­ence and en­vi­ron­men­tal ex­perts but, most im­por­tantly, in­volv­ing the lo­cal com­mu­nity in the long term health of its wa­ter­ways.

“The for­ma­tion of the Mackay-Whit­sun­day Healthy Rivers to Reef Part­ner­ship fur­thers the work un­der­taken via the pre­vi­ous Healthy Wa­ter­ways Al­liance pro­gram and now in­cludes ad­di­tional stake­hold­ers and re­gions, such as the Don River catch­ment in­clud­ing the area of Ab­bot Point,” he said. “With ev­ery­one from in­dus­try, gov­ern­ment and com­mu­nity in­volved, I am con­fi­dent that the health of our wa­ter­ways and marine en­vi­ron­ment can be en­hanced while ac­tively meet­ing com­mu­nity as­pi­ra­tions.”

Mr Cocco said coast and wa­ter sys­tems were a ma­jor part of life in the Mackay-Whit­sun­day re­gion, also feed­ing di­rectly into the iconic Great Bar­rier Reef la­goon.

“Our wa­ter­ways and land catch­ment ar­eas support crit­i­cal ar­eas of bio­di­ver­sity and nat­u­ral re­sources; as well as tourism, a coastal life­style, a thriv­ing agri­cul­tural sec­tor and more,” he said.

“Our wa­ter re­sources are ir­re­place­able [and] Reef Catch­ments looks for­ward to co-or­di­nat­ing this new part­ner­ship to al­low the com­mu­nity and its stake­hold­ers to make in­formed de­ci­sions about how to pro­tect and man­age nat­u­ral as­sets for fu­ture gen­er­a­tions.”

NQ Dry Trop­ics CEO, Dr Scott Craw­ford, said the re­port card in par­tic­u­lar, was a strong step in the right di­rec­tion, which would al­low for im­proved in­for­ma­tion shar­ing, trans­parency and data qual­ity.

“Ul­ti­mately, this will im­prove our un­der­stand­ing and man­age­ment of a com­plex and re­mark­able en­vi­ron­ment,” he said.

PART­NER­SHIP LAUNCHED: Queens­land Min­is­ter for En­vi­ron­ment and Her­itage Pro­tec­tion, An­drew Pow­ell (cen­tre-right) joins (from left) NQ Dry Trop­ics CEO Dr Scott Craw­ford, Chair of Pi­o­neer Catch­ment and Land­care Group Inc Mar­garet Lane and Reef Catch­ments CEO Rob Cocco, at the launch of the new Mackay-Whit­sun­day Healthy Rivers to Reef Part­ner­ship.

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