The latest Mackay-Whitsunday Waterway Health report card continues to highlight the region’s poor water quality despite years of effort and millions of dollars to clean it up. Regulations will be required to improve water quality and protect the Great Barrier Reef.
The Mackay Whitsunday Healthy Rivers to Reef Partnership which includes members from 22 organisations representing the community, industry, research groups and government has recently released their waterway health report card for the 2014 – 15 year for our region. You can download a copy of the 2015 Report Card here
As a participating member, the Mackay Conservation Group (MCG) supports the ongoing efforts of the partnership and its members to both determine and improve water quality in our region.
However it is clear that despite the work being undertaken by key bodies to monitor water quality, more needs to be done to improve water. The report card determined that the water quality throughout the catchment rates poor to moderate. Contaminants such as sediments, pesticides and fertilizers continue to impact our coastal habitat, particularly in the Proserpine, Pioneer and Plane catchments.
For years now the government and industry have worked together to improve water quality but with minimal success and the Reef has suffered the consequences. It is apparent to all involved that financial inducements and voluntary application of best land management practices is not working. Regulations are required to ensure that all parties are doing the best possible job to improve water quality.
The release of the Mackay-Whitsunday report card coincides with the recently released Great Barrier Reef report card which rates the overall health of the Reef as “D” (poor). The Great Barrier Reef is a UNESCO World heritage listed site and is the source of significant economic, cultural and social benefits.
On December 1 this year our government will be reporting to the World Heritage Committee on the health of the Reef. This report is an important requirement for holding World Heritage Status. Our inability to improve the Reef's water quality problem can only hurt our World Heritage status.
You can download a copy of the 2015 Report Card here