Tourism groups praise health of Great Barrier Reef
BUNDABERG'S tourism leaders yesterday spruiked the health and vitality of the Great Barrier Reef off the region's coastline.
Meanwhile the region's leading natural resources management group has called on the Queensland Government to delay the implementation of its controversial reef regulations.
It comes as more than 300 people turned up to hear scientist Dr Peter Ridd's presentation on Monday night at the Moncrieff Theatre.
Buoyed by the big turnout, Bundaberg Canegrowers has pointed to how many groups backed the move.
"In addition, the Queensland Farmers Federation (QFF) Deputy CEO, Burnett Mary Regional Group (BMRG) CEO, AgForce Queensland CEO and Invicta Cane Growers Association Manager came into town for the event, and Isis and Maryborough Canegrowers also showed their support,” Bundaberg Canegrowers Manager Dale Holliss said.
However despite the mounting pressure, Environment Minister Leeanne Enoch is standing her ground.
Speaking to the NewsMail at a Bundaberg Chamber of Commerce breakfast, Lady Musgrave Experience owner Brett Lakey said the reef was in pristine condition.
Mr Lakey said if there was any run-off, it certainly wasn't hurting the reef in this part of the world.
"We're out close to Lady Elliott and Lady Musgrave, we're 30 odd miles offshore, our coral is stunning, the only thing that's really affected it is the cyclone a few years ago,” he said.
"We monitor the reef as part of our Eye on the Reef program for GBRMPA and we see new corals, new growth - it's stunning, it's beautiful.”
Given the standoff between the state and Canegrowers the NewsMail yesterday sought the position of the Burnett Mary Regional Group (BMRG), which is the leading natural resource management group in the region.
The group said its position hadn't changed since its statement backing the region's growers in March.
"The BMRG commends the region's canegrowers for implementing best management practices aimed at enhancing the quality of run-off water entering the waters of the Great Barrier Reef,” the group says.
"BMRG supports the enhancement of existing reef protection regulations but given that the minimum water quality standards are currently being surpassed by the region's canegrowers, suggest that implementation of the regulations be delayed in the Burnett and Southern Catchments until a thorough audit of the science is conducted.”
Ms Enoch told the NewsMail on Monday the government had been supporting farmers who were voluntarily improving their practices.
"However, uptake has not been fast enough, so water quality has continued to decline,” she said.