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Editorial: Great Sandy Marine Park/ Hervey Bay Marine Park - Planning frustration

Hervey Bay is likely one of the most important locations for Humpback Whales on the East Coast of Australia. It is an area where the whales gather each year to socialise and nurture their new-born calves. The humpback phenomena in Hervey Bay contributes in excess of $60 million annually to the local Wide-Bay Community.

Hervey Bay is formed by Fraser Island, a World Heritage Wilderness Area, which has become a significant world tourist destination. The local Whale Watching Industry in Hervey Bay together with Tourism to the Wide-Bay Region and Recreational fishing in Hervey Bay have created a bright economic future for the area.

To conserve the 'significant marine resources and values' of the Great Sandy Region the Queensland Government is moving forward with the declaration of the 'Great Sandy Marine Park - Northern Section. The 'Regulatory Impact Statement (RIS)' and 'Strategy for declaration and zoning' documents have just been released.

Aspects of the planning process and recent actions by the Queensland Government in regard to proposed Aquaculture, Mari-culture projects within Hervey Bay has raised strong local concerns.

An alliance of concerned local stakeholders and environmental organisations, including The Oceania Project, which is being led by the Queensland Conservation Council, are being frustrated by delays in the provision of information under the 'Freedom of Information (FOI)' legislation about the proposed developments.

We will keep you informed of progress on the matter.

Wally & Trish Franklin
Directors, The Oceania Project

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