Reef needs more help
Chairman calls for reef recovery
HUMAN intervention is needed to help the Great Barrier Reef.
That is the message from Tourism Whitsundays chairman Al Grundy, who says it’s now time to look at how the reef can recover post-Cyclone Debbie.
The message comes on the back of a month where the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority temporarily relaxed the rules on touching coral in the wake of cyclone damage.
However as of April 26, the relaxed rules have ended and the normal rules apply.
Mr Grundy met Steven Miles, Minister for National Parks and the Great Barrier Reef, in the Whitsundays last Thursday and said he stressed the importance of reef recovery programs.
“The legislation was... you just have to leave it (damaged coral) and let nature take its course but what’s happened now is the realisation that we can’t just wait, we need to intervene,” he said.
“The important thing for us to get across was that for everyone to continue to prosper we need to look as quickly as possible to implement some restoration programs.
“As technology advances and we have better scientific information, the opportunity for us are... programs such as coral planting and regeneration programs.”
Mr Grundy said he was pleasantly surprised by strong marine tourism numbers through April and had praise for the staff and workers but also warned it would still take time to get the tourism industry where it was once was.
“We’ll probably be about six months before we hit our straps again,” he said.
As attention shifts to how the tourism industry will get back on its feet, Mr Grundy said important steps had already been undertaken.
“An infrastructure group has already been set up and had their first meeting. As the government grants come in and add funding, we will start to highlight the projects that we see are going to give us the best outcomes and then there will be fully funded projects set up to get under way,” he said.
NO QUICK FIX: Tourism Whitsundays chair Al Grundy says human intervention such as coral gardening is needed to help coral recover in the Whitsundays.