Lauga calls for ac­tion on ob­ser­va­tory

Pol­lie spat over de­cay­ing, rusty relic

The Morning Bulletin - - NEWS - LEIGHTON SMITH Leighton.Smith@cap­

CEN­TRAL Queens­land politi­cians have weighed in on the rust­ing Mid­dle Is­land Ob­ser­va­tory.

Yes­ter­day, fresh pic­tures were pub­lished show­ing an in­creas­ingly de­cay­ing struc­ture with the Great Bar­rier Reef Marine Park Au­thor­ity ad­mit­ting they were look­ing into po­ten­tial le­gal ac­tion.

Kep­pel MP Brit­tany Lauga called on Fed­eral Mem­ber for Capri­cor­nia Michelle Landry to act on the per­mit which ex­pired eight months ago.

There were also con­cerns raised by lo­cals re­gard­ing the po­ten­tial en­vi­ron­men­tal and safety risks cre­ated by the rust­ing ob­ser­va­tory, which has wal­lowed in a state of dis­re­pair since it closed in 2008.

“The Un­der­wa­ter Ob­ser­va­tory on Mid­dle Is­land has been left to sit dor­mant for years,” Mrs Lauga said.

“This is an in­cred­i­bly im­por­tant lo­cal tourism as­set and yet Mal­colm Turn­bull and the LNP are let­ting it sit to rot.

“Why isn’t Michelle Landry tak­ing this very im­por­tant is­sue to Can­berra and ask­ing Mal­colm Turn­bull to fix our un­der­wa­ter ob­ser­va­tory?

Mrs Lauga said Tower Hold­ings (GKI Re­sorts Pty Ltd) were re­quired by its Marine Park per­mit to ei­ther re­fur­bish or de­mol­ish the ob­ser­va­tory but the per­mit ex­pired in Novem­ber 2017 with no ac­tion.

“Like every Cen­tral Queens­lan­der I would love to see the Mid­dle Is­land Ob­ser­va­tory re­turned to its for­mer glory,” Mrs Lauga said.

“The State Gov­ern­ment is in­vest­ing $25 mil­lion to de­velop tourism in­fra­struc­ture in Kep­pel Bay and yet the Fed­eral LNP con­tin­ues to sit on their hands with the ob­ser­va­tory.

“Lo­cals have se­ri­ous con­cerns that fail­ure to re­fur­bish the ob­ser­va­tory or re­move it could re­sult in en­vi­ron­men­tal dam­age to the reef.”

Ms Landry said the mat­ter was in the hands of the Great Bar­rier Reef Marine Park Au­thor­ity and that ef­forts to cre­ate a po­lit­i­cal cir­cus over the struc­ture were poorly di­rected.

“This is­sue is be­tween GBRMPA and Tower Hold­ings, and I am con­fi­dent the hard-work­ing staff of GBRMPA ... are man­ag­ing this sit­u­a­tion ef­fec­tively; al­ways pri­ori­tis­ing the health of the reef,” she said.

“We all re­mem­ber the Ob­ser­va­tory fondly but cre­at­ing a po­lit­i­cal dis­tur­bance will do noth­ing to help se­cure the fu­ture of Kep­pel Bay tourism.”

Photo: Contributed

RELIC: Mid­dle Is­land Ob­ser­va­tory has been left to rust since it closed in 2008. Inset top: MPs Brit­tany Lauga and Michelle Landry have weighed in on the is­sue.

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