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Media Release
Australian Minister for the Environment and Heritage
Senator the Hon. Ian Campbell

6 May 2005

New staff to listen to Great Barrier Reef community issues


The Minister for the Environment and Heritage, Senator Ian Campbell, today announced four new regional Queensland offices for the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority (GBRMPA) and the appointment of eight additional staff.

"Part of the Government's election commitment last year was to review the activities of the GBRMPA and to ensure the concerns of regional communities concerns were clearly heard. This initiative will be an important step in this process," Senator Campbell said.

Three officers will be based in Cairns with one specifically focusing on Cape York issues, while the other two will focus on the coastal communities from Cooktown to Mission Beach. One additional officer will be based in Townsville to service the needs of the Hinchinbrook to the Burdekin region. Two Mackay-based officers will address the needs of the Bowen to St Lawrence region and two officers in Rockhampton will liaise with communities from Marlborough to Bundaberg.

Senator Campbell said the appointment of these eight extra staff in the region would support the award-winning scientific and policy expertise already based in the Townsville office.

"These permanent positions will build on the good work of the GBRMPA's Local Marine Advisory Committees and will seek to engage coastal communities in further discussion about the stewardship of the Great Barrier Reef for the benefit of those relying on the marine park for employment and leisure activities," he said.

"The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park means many different things to various communities in the region and having regional liaison officers strategically positioned along the Reef's 2000 kilometre coastline helps to ensure we understand the needs and wants of these communities.

"As I noted in the release of the Futureye Report in March this year, this review of GBRMPA consultation activities showed some sectors of the community felt disenfranchised and disillusioned by the rezoning consultation process.

"The Report noted many strengths but there is always room for improvement, particularly developing practical, local solutions to the challenges facing the Great Barrier Reef coastal communities.

"Implementing this regional response allows us to build on local knowledge, to offer the best possible management of this wonderful world-renowned Australian icon," Senator Campbell said.

The Futureye Report is available at www.gbrmpa.gov.au

Media contacts:
Renae Stoikos (Minister Campbell's office)  02 6277 7640 or 0418 117 361

Commonwealth of Australia