‘In danger’ reef listing would have been 'bad for tourism'

Lady Elliot Island, on the Great Barrier Reef.
Lady Elliot Island, on the Great Barrier Reef. Contributed

REEF lovers should not be angry at miners and if the Great Barrier Reef was listed as "in danger" it would have badly affected the Gladstone and Bundaberg regions.

Those were two messages from Lady Elliot Island Eco Resort managing director Peter Gash, who attended a reef and tourism forum in Brisbane on Friday.

At the forum, held to coincide with World Environment Day, Mr Gash said the biggest threat to the Great Barrier Reef was not mining, but the belief that protecting it was somebody else's problem.

"It's our reef, we all own it, we all belong to it and we all need to make sure we look after it with all of our hearts," he said.

Mr Gash also said a lot of focus on the mining industry, and how it was destroying the reef, was unbalanced.

"We also need to remember in the 21st century we have mobile phones, we have computers, we have motor cars, we have cameras. We can't have any of those things without some element of mining," he said

He said miners were humans and everyone needed to work together and not in an aggressive manner.

"There are ways to mine," he said.

Last week the UNESCO World Heritage Committee decided not to list the Great Barrier Reef as "in danger".

If it did, Mr Gash said it would have been bad for Queensland, the reef and visitors.

Despite the controversy surrounding the reef in recent years, Mr Gash did not believe there been a decline in tourist numbers.

He said the controversy could have been a good thing because it put the reef on everyone's radar.

"There wasn't much attention brought to its (the reef's) value until the UNESCO pressure was put on it," he said.

"I don't think it's a bad thing. This pressure has brought focus and attention on the fact that you need to monitor and manage it and I think we're doing a very good job of that".

Topics:  great barrier reef queensland tourism

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