Contributed by Adam Carlton
A concerted campaign by defenders of the Great Barrier Reef, including the Australian Marine Conserevation Society (AMCS), has prompted Queensland’s Palaszczuk government to take some important steps, which can stimulate regional economies and protect the Reef.
Hard work by a range of organisations pulling together, a major social media campaign, lobbying of members of parliament, and more, is what has brought about this shift.
The $10 million Reef Assist package announced last week, will provide employment for about 200 people, working on landcare and a range of related environment protection programs.
AMCS spokesperson Shani Tager said: “This is exactly the sort of program that’s needed to rebuild regional economies, create jobs and address one of the major threats to our Reef by improving water quality.
“Boosting programs that create jobs, clean up our waterways and manage our land to make sure that the water that flows into our beautiful Reef is clean is a win-win.
“This shows how we can create jobs in areas like Cairns that have been hit hard by the economic impacts of COVID while protecting our Reef, and we hope it’s just the start.
“The greater the investment by the government, the more jobs and the better the outcome for our Reef and our regional communities.”
This program is only a taste of what is needed, and in itself, will not save the Reef. For this to happen, Queensland must move towards ending coal and shift to environmentally friendly energy. Support for this is growing.
More s must be provided to help the tourism industry, a major part of he Queensland economy, and well placed to play critical role in its future growth.
The Great Barrier Reef is the responsibility of the whole of Australia, not just Queensland. Only through this approach will it be possible to muster the resources needed.