Looking after the reef
GREENS Party candidate for Dawson Jonathan Dykyj met with local clean-up organisations in Airlie Beach last Thursday to outline the immediate policies that will help to ensure the prosperity of the Great Barrier Reef.
“We have local groups like Eco Barge Services and Save Our Seas working hard, achieving real outcomes,” Mr Dykyj said.
“I want to see them better funded and better resourced and I call on the next Government to make this happen.”
From the point of view of Eco Barge Services' Libby Edge, consistent Federal funding would mean the service could focus on the program (marine debris removal) and not have to constantly seek sponsorship.
“It's time for the government to step up and fully fund this program,” she said.
“We need to protect our marine life, which in doing so will help protect tourism.”
Save Our Seas' founder Ian Thomson is pushing to get a ban placed on plastic bags which would ultimately benefit marine life and the wider environment.
“At least get rid of single-use plastic bags, but eventually get rid of them [plastic bags] entirely,” he said.
Mr Dykyj said that in the Whitsundays and off the coast of Dawson, tonnes of rubbish are washing up on shore causing serious threats to marine life.
“If elected, the Greens would introduce Container Deposit Legislation (like that in South Australia) which would raise the recovery rate of bottles from around 30 per cent to above 80 per cent.
“Combined with the end of plastic bags, this will make a huge difference.
“The World Heritage Great Barrier Reef employs more than 63,000 people (16 per cent of employment in the Whitsundays is in tourism, compared with the national average of around five percent) and supports hundreds of small to medium, locally owned businesses bringing in around $6 billion each year.”
“With a contribution to the economy like that it needs to be given the highest priority.”
LNP Candidate for Dawson George Christensen has also promised to find the needed funding to support services like Eco Barge if elected in government, to support the Marine Debris Removal Program.