THE long-term environmental protection of the Great Barrier Reef the Far North’s greatest asset will be assured under the Coalition’s Reef 2050 Plan, says Leichhardt MP Warren Entsch.
“This is an excellent policy we’ve released today,” Mr Entsch said.
“I welcome the $40 million for the creation of a Reef Trust and it makes sense that the Queensland Government, the Federal Government and other agencies including GBRMPA should all work together on an agreed strategic assessment for the future of the reef.
“Everyone needs to have a seat at the table when decisions are being made.”
Mr Entsch said farmers and landowners in the Far North had already made significant inroads into reducing farm runoff and nutrient reduction but welcomed further moves to re-prioritise Reef Rescue Funding to focus on the issue.
“I’m also very pleased to see that the RRRC will play a key role in helping to eradicate the Crown of Thorns, working with AMPTO,” he said.
“Both these organisations do incredible work in our region and this is an example of how science can be applied on the ground to make a real difference in our environment.”
Addressing the third element of the Reef 2050 policy, the Turtle and Dugong Protection Plan, Mr Entsch emphasised that the policy was driven by the need to combat the threats of poaching, illegal hunting and marine debris.
“There’s a lot of misinformation being spread but as I have said many times, this policy is not in any way going to affect the Native Title rights of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island hunters,” he stated.
“I will continue to protect the right to take turtle and dugong for traditional purposes under the Act, but it’s important that those few people who are doing the wrong thing are stopped because it’s not sustainable. We don’t want our children and grandchildren only being able to see a dugong in a museum.
“We will continue to work with Traditional Owners around North Queensland on voluntary moratoriums for the taking of dugongs and to strengthen enforcement for indigenous rangers.”