An alliance of environmental and community groups, including NQCC, is organising Townsville’s first Flotilla for the Reef. It will take place along The Strand on Sunday 19 October and is aimed at drawing attention to the damage that mega industrial ports and dredge spoil dumping do to the Reef. The flotilla will call for a ban on dumping in the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area.
Flotilla spokesperson and James Cook University Marine Biology student Jacinta Tonkin said “We will be marching along The Strand alongside the flotilla of boats to send a message to the state and federal governments that we want the incredible natural icon the Great Barrier Reef protected for all time. We’re calling for a ban on dumping in the World Heritage Area.”
“Even though the State Government has signaled plans to dispose of dredge spoil on land at Abbot Point, we have not seen any commitment to ban dumping at the other proposed port expansions in the World Heritage Area. And at Abbot Point the proposal is to dump the spoil in the Caley Valley Wetlands” said Ms Tonkin.
Plans that will require 100 million tonnes of dredging, significant amounts of dumping in Reef waters, and a massive increase in the number of ships crossing the Great Barrier Reef each year are still in place.
Fishers, divers, boat owners and community members are invited to bring a boat or kayak if they want to join the flotilla. Non-boaties can join the land march from 10am, meeting on the beach next to Tobruk pool on The Strand. People interested in bringing a boat are asked to register at flotillaforthereef.org.au and to arrive in time to register their boat before 9.45am.
The flotilla and march will finish at Burke St Headland, where scientists and Reef advocates will talk about the health of and the need to protect the Great Barrier Reef. Local bands, including young duo Terrapin, will entertain the crowd. Food will be available.
Participants are encouraged to make costumes, signs and banners to make this event special and spread the message.