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Marine park authority to remain in Townsville

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In a vote of confidence, the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority will remain headquartered in Townsville. This is a key recommendation in the Federal Government’s review of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Act 1975. “I am pleased to deliver the great news today that our Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority will remain operating from Townsville, where it will continue to work closely with the locals who know the Reef best,” Member for Herbert, Peter Lindsay, said. “This means no jobs will be lost, instead it is expected more staff will be put on as the Authority continues to expand in the future.” “I am pleased to say that the Government has now kept its promise to bring the laws and processes that protect this great asset into the 21st Century,” Mr Lindsay said. “At last, with the assurance that there will be no further zoning changes for at least seven years, there is certainty and stability for everyone whose livelihoods depend on the health of the Great Barrier Reef. “That has to be good news for the commercial and recreational fishing industries; the hundreds of tourism operators; and local business and communities that rely indirectly on the Reef’s natural, cultural and economic assets.” The review focused on updating the regulatory, governance and accountability frameworks and consultative mechanisms required for the long-term protection of the Great Barrier Reef, and the impact of the landmark Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999. It also reinforces collaborative arrangements with the Queensland Government. “Not everyone has been happy with the dramatic increase in protection afforded the Reef with the implementation of the Representative Areas Programme two years ago,” Mr Lindsay said. “I can assure you that all voices were heard when the review panel conducted its review -it considered 227 submissions, and held 36 face-to-face consultations. “And we have ensured that communities and businesses affected by the rezoning changes decisions have had access to a generous package to help industries adapt to these changes. “It also found that there is always room for improvement in how we plan for the best possible outcomes. I welcome the review’s findings that in future planning there will be longer formal consultation periods, and greater transparency.” The report can be found at: