LET­TERS

Whitsunday Times - - YOUR SAY -

Re­search fa­cil­ity

THE Whit­sun­day re­gion ac­counts for 40% of all reef vis­i­ta­tions in Queens­land, so let us de­mand govern­ment in­vests money in this re­gion in sci­en­tific re­search.

We have a beau­ti­ful com­mu­nity-owned site at Shute Har­bour which is cost­ing us money.

It could be a reef re­search cen­tre, with fa­cil­i­ties for re­search ves­sels com­bined with an aquar­ium to pro­vide a land-based tourist at­trac­tion that is sorely needed for pe­ri­ods when the weather is un­suit­able for off­shore ac­tiv­i­ties.

The re­search fa­cil­ity could be a tourism-based cit­i­zen science ven­ture where peo­ple pay to go div­ing and as­sist in re­search projects, a model that is work­ing in other parts of the world.

This could be com­bined with seed­ing coral to as­sist with re­gen­er­a­tion of cy­clone-dam­aged or de­graded ar­eas, pro­vid­ing a science-based un­der­stand­ing of the im­pact of tourism on the reefs and bet­ter man­age­ment to­wards sus­tain­abil­ity of our World her­itage-listed Great Bar­rier Reef, the cen­tre­piece of our tourism in­dus­try pro­vid­ing 69,000 jobs.

The Queens­land Govern­ment has spent $1.94 bil­lion on ex­pan­sion of Ab­bot Point since 2007, while the coal in­dus­try has shed about 15,000 jobs over the same pe­riod de­spite record pro­duc­tion and ex­port.

It’s about time the lead­ers in tourism and the coun­cil stood up for a fairer share of govern­ment fund­ing to pro­tect jobs in our re­gion into the fu­ture.

Sci­en­tists say we can’t ex­pand coal min­ing if the reef is to sur­vive.

How about we start in­vest­ing in pro­tect­ing our most valu­able as­set.

Dream­ing

I’M SO sick of peo­ple who sup­port the Adani min­ing project say­ing they’re count­ing on a job there or it will be good for busi­ness.

What is cer­tain about the mine is dam­age to the Great Bar­rier Reef, wa­ter re­sources and farm­ing land.

The 1464 jobs are not even guar­an­teed by writ­ten con­tract to come from the lo­cal pop­u­la­tion.

In­stead, lo­cal min­ers who have be­come re­dun­dant should be think­ing about reskilling/re­train­ing or mov­ing to an­other re­gion.

There is no guar­an­tee of a job for life in any in­dus­try (I speak from my own ex­pe­ri­ence of re­dun­dancy); the writ­ing was on the wall for coal min­ing decades ago.

But there is one way to guar­an­tee that any one of the 500 Adani ships nav­i­gat­ing through the reef each year will not spill oil when it crashes into one of the won­ders of the world.

That is to stop the Galilee Basin Adani min­ing project.

Go along to a lo­cal screen­ing of Guard­ing the Galilee, star­ring Michael Ca­ton, to learn about the dev­as­tat­ing dam­age an Adani mine has done to the fish­ing in­dus­try and lives of the peo­ple of Mun­dra, In­dia, where they too were promised jobs which didn’t ma­te­ri­alise – and tell him he’s dream­ing.

Re­con­sider mine

I ALSO re­ject the govern­ment’s stance that Adani will be great for the econ­omy.

Adani have them­selves re­cently stated that the mine will only em­ploy 400 full-time staff.

And at what cost?

Will Adani be im­ple­ment­ing fur­ther au­to­ma­tion in the fu­ture, as Rio Tinto are do­ing now?

Au­tomat­ing will cut that measly 400 jobs down even more.

The dam­age to the reef alone will cost many more than 400 jobs.

In­dian author­i­ties are in­ves­ti­gat­ing companies in the Adani Group over al­le­ga­tions they si­phoned money off­shore to tax havens, which I’m sure, given the com­plex cor­po­rate struc­tures Adani have in place, will also hap­pen with the Carmichael mine.

In fur­ther re­gards to Adani’s com­plex cor­po­rate struc­ture – who ex­actly will the North­ern Aus­tralia In­fras­truc­ture Fa­cil­ity be lend­ing that bil­lion dol­lars of our money to?

A re­cent poll showed 75% of Aus­tralians would pre­fer the NAIF fund­ing went to re­new­able en­ergy, not to help Adani build a rail­way line to freight dirty coal.

This govern­ment rub­ber-stamped this mine in, they can rub­ber stamp it back out again.

I se­ri­ously hope they will re­con­sider, on our be­half, their sup­port for this hor­ren­dous mine.

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