Reef Catchments – connecting community and natural resources in Mackay-Whitsunday.
Archives for October 2014
A benchmark partnership has been established in Mackay to help safeguard and monitor the health of the Mackay-Whitsunday coast, waterways and marine environment.
Queensland Minister for Environment and Heritage Protection, Mr Andrew Powell MP, joined 21 Mackay, Whitsunday and wider Queensland organisations to launch the new Mackay-Whitsunday Healthy Rivers to Reef Partnership.
The partnership will oversee the production of an annual Mackay-Whitsunday regional waterway health report card, building off the highly successful Mackay-Whitsunday Water Quality Improvement Plan.
The report card will focus exclusively on waterways in the Mackay-Whitsunday region, including freshwater rivers, wetlands, estuaries and coast and marine environments.
It will provide a comparable set of reporting arrangements to the SEQ Healthy Waterways initiative and the Gladstone Healthy Harbour Partnership.
The new partnership will be jointly coordinated on the ground by Reef Catchments (Mackay Whitsundays Isaac) Limited and NQ Dry Tropics NRM.
Reef Catchments CEO, Robert Cocco, said the collaboration was a further step forward.
“This partnership brings together not only industry, science and environmental experts but, most importantly, it involves the local community in the long term health of our waterways,” Mr Cocco said.
“The formation of the Mackay-Whitsunday Healthy Rivers to Reef Partnership furthers the work undertaken via the previous Healthy Waterways Alliance program and now includes additional stakeholders and regions, such as the Don River catchment including the area of Abbot Point.
“With everyone from industry, government and community involved, I am confident that the health of our waterways and marine environment can be enhanced while actively meeting community aspirations,” Mr Cocco said.
He said coast and water systems were a major part of life in the Mackay-Whitsunday region.
“Feeding directly into the iconic Great Barrier Reef lagoon, our waterways and land catchment areas support critical areas of biodiversity and natural resources; as well as tourism, a coastal lifestyle, a thriving agricultural sector and more,” Mr Cocco said.
“Our water resources are irreplaceable. Reef Catchments looks forward to coordinating this new partnership to allow the community and its stakeholders to make informed decisions about how to protect and manage natural assets for future generations.”
NQ Dry Tropics CEO, Dr Scott Crawford, congratulated the partners for their commitment to the Healthy Rivers to Reef Partnership.
“Ready access to reliable and timely information is an essential ingredient to building community confidence in the management of our waterways and coastal and marine environment,” Dr Crawford said.
“The Report Card is a strong step in the right direction, and will allow for improved information sharing, transparency and data quality. Ultimately, this will improve our understanding and management of a complex and remarkable environment.
“NQ Dry Tropics is proud of the opportunity to play a leadership role in the Partnership, and looks forward to working alongside industry, community, government and the research sector in the development of the Report Card.”
Environment Minister Andrew Powell said the Mackay-Whitsunday Healthy Rivers to Reef Partnership would deliver the annual report card from Abbot Point to south of Mackay.
“The Great Barrier Reef is one of Queensland’s greatest assets and we want families in future generations to enjoy it in the same way that we have,” Mr Powell said.
“The report card will be based on the best independent science available so the most significant factors affecting waterway and Reef health can be targeted.
“The report card will tell us where we are heading and where we need to improve.
“It builds on the successes of the Healthy Waterways Report Card in South East Queensland and the Great Barrier Reef Report Card. It will complement existing reporting through the broader Reef Report Card, but also provide more specific local data to allow partners to prioritise actions to improve waterway health.”
Mr Powell also announced the first $1 million of a proposed $3 million over three years for the next phase of eReefs – a partnership with the Great Barrier Reef Foundation, Bureau of Meteorology, CSIRO, Australian Institute of Marine Science, the Federal Government and the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority.
“Using the latest technologies to collate data and new and integrated modelling, eReefs will produce powerful visualisation, communication and reporting tools for the near shore and off shore marine environment,” he said.
As at October 2014, the Mackay Whitsunday Healthy Rivers to Reef partners are:
- Reef Catchments
- Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority
- Isaac Regional Council
- CANEGROWERS Mackay
- Mackay Regional Council
- Mackay Tourism Limited
- North Queensland Bulk Ports Corporation
- NQ Dry Tropics
- Qld Resources Council
- Regional Development Australia Mackay Whitsunday Inc
- Resource Industry Network
- Queensland Government
- Whitsunday Regional Council
- Whitsunday Regional Organisation of Councils (ROC)
- Whitsundays Marketing and Development Ltd
- Community representative
- Qld Seafood Industry Association
- Qld Farmers’ Federation
- Mackay Recreational Fishers Alliance