Lo­cals join GBRMPA ad­vi­sory com­mit­tee

Whitsunday Times - - WHITSUNDAY VIEWS AND VIEWS -

THREE Whit­sun­day tourism op­er­a­tors have been se­lected to join a new com­mit­tee, which will ad­vise the Great Bar­rier Reef Marine Park Au­thor­ity (GBRMPA) about tourism on the reef.

Tony Brown (True Blue Sail­ing), An­nie Judd (Char­ter Yachts Aus­tralia) and Gavin Her­holdt (Hamil­ton Is­land Re­sort) are among the 15 com­mit­tee mem­bers led by in­de­pen­dent chair­per­son Glenys Schunt­ner.

The new com­mit­tee has al­ready held its first meet­ing in Townsville, en­abling rep­re­sen­ta­tives to raise is­sues rel­e­vant to the tourism sec­tor, which is one of the big­gest users of the reef. GBRMPA Chair­man Rus­sell Re­ichelt said the 15 mem­bers, ap­pointed for a three-year term, re­flected the di­ver­sity of the sec­tor.

“From day-tours to re­sorts, bare­boat op­er­a­tions and char­ter fish­ing, it’s a highly di­verse and im­por­tant in­dus­try that knows first-hand the value of do­ing all we can to boost the health and re­silience of the reef,” he said.

“I’m con­fi­dent the new com­mit­tee mem­bers will help us con­tinue our decades-long part­ner­ship with the tourism in­dus­try, and we’ll cer­tainly be keen to hear their views and ideas on op­er­a­tional poli­cies and best prac­tice.”

Help­ing to en­sure tourism use re­mains eco­log­i­cally sus­tain­able will be one of the key roles of the com­mit­tee, which will also have in­put into re­search and mon­i­tor­ing pri­or­i­ties, strate­gic plans, plans of man­age­ment, zon­ing plans and con­tin­gency plans for se­vere weather events.

Lo­cal com­mit­tee mem­ber Tony Brown said the com­mit­tee was all about “find­ing net pos­i­tives”, through ad­dress­ing is­sues such as wa­ter qual­ity, look­ing to­wards land man­ag­ing cap­i­tal dredg­ing projects and dis­cussing how to man­age main­te­nance dredg­ing.

“And it’s about find­ing bet­ter ways of do­ing what we do in the marine park and that trans­lates to all in­dus­tries and all ar­eas,” he said.

The next meet­ing of the Tourism Reef Ad­vi­sory Com­mit­tee will be held in March 2015.

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