A meeting to discuss the future management of the Great Barrier Reef was held last weekend when Townsville community representatives joined others from Cape York to Bundaberg.
The two-day workshop is an annual meeting of representatives from 12 Local Marine Advisory Committees and senior staff from the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority.
Townsville Local Marine Advisory Committee Chair Julie Traweek said presentations and discussions focused mainly on sourcing local input to the strategic assessment.
As agreed with the Australian Environment Minister, GBRMPA and Queensland are undertaking this strategic assessment. GBRMPA will identify the values of and risks to the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area while the Queensland Government is assessing the adjacent coastal zone.
'In North Queensland a healthy Reef is critical to our livelihoods, in particular the strength of our tourism and fishing industries. There are also strong cultural and social connections,' Ms Traweek said.
'The outcomes of the strategic assessment will have an impact on the local Townsville community. That’s why it was important that we had a voice at the meeting to let GBRMPA know what the local pressures are and why we need it to be properly managed.'
GBRMPA Chair Russell Reichelt thanked the community representatives for giving up their time to provide valuable feedback and advice on Reef management.
'The delegates represented a wide range of community stakeholders including tour operators, Traditional Owners, farmers, conservationists and fishers.
'They brought a wide range of views and experiences to the workshop and it was great to get their input.
'We hope to bring everyone back together early next year for a final round of briefings and comments prior to release of the draft strategic assessment reports for public comment.'
Other issues discussed at the meeting included inshore biodiversity, the outlook for coastal ecosystems and a proposed heritage strategy for the Great Barrier Reef. They also toured the upgraded Reef Vessel Tracking System facility managed by the Australian Maritime Safety Authority.
Established in 1999, the Bowen-Burdekin Local Marine Advisory Committee meets five times a year to advise GBRMPA on marine issues and undertake regional environmental projects.
Local Marine Advisory Committees also operate in the Bowen-Burdekin, Cape York, Cairns, Cassowary Coast, Capricorn Coast, Douglas, Gladstone, Hinchinbrook, Mackay, Whitsundays and Burnett regions.