Luc Longley on THE day

Wow! So what did you think of that speech I wrote for Tim? Just kidding.
How do I follow that? They send up a basketballer after the poet, the wordsmith� Western Australia's keenest voice and observer of the human condition. Here we go anyway:

I grew up in WA, down in the west end of Fremantle.
The last 15 years I have been living away from WA, mostly in America, as a result I consider myself somewhat of an expert in developmental overkill.
I have seen the beehives that Tim speaks of in the States and all over the world�. Mexico, Hawaii, Jamaica, Florida, Queensland, Indonesia and beyond. Tim couldn't be more correct when he says the sanitized experience is overdone and archaic.

As a result of seeing the world and its many spoiled places, I chose to come home to WA to raise my children as well as enjoy myself. I came home because of places like Ningaloo and people like you.

In my travels I have NOT found Wilderness areas unspoiled and "happening". They all seem to be wounded and gasping. Nor have I seen people and communities as involved and aware of their own management and issues as Australian people, and West Australians in particular.

Upon returning to this amazing and unspoiled coast I was stunned to learn of the potential hazard at Ningaloo. Learning of the development I could see the pattern of disaster replicated.

Hard as it is for me to admit, bigger is not always better!

So I went up there to see for myself. I took my daughter, and together we swam with huge manta rays, and schools of fish meters off the beach at Maud's Landing, apparently they are there every day�and right there, in that very spot, is where the massive sea walls would spill boats in and out of the lagoon south of Bateman Bay.
The developer's say in their own reports that mantas are known to avoid areas of boating traffic, I decided I needed to know more.

The more I learned the more I realised that this whole region is just astonishing.
And I also learned that our use of the area was indeed beginning to tell. We ARE having impact up there, and as the fame of Ningaloo and the Cape Range grow, more and more people WILL want to go there. How do we deal with that? When I delved into it, it was not a difficult decision for me to support the campaign in its call for a better solution to these issues than the marina. Not "No development" - just "better development".

As I'm sure many of you have found, the more you look at these problems the more you realise that there is an amazing opportunity before us in this region.

Here is one of the planets great remaining wildernesses, still in very good shape. And this in a world where most wild places are destroyed, in decline, or fighting for recovery.
And this gem is part of our heritage, our state. Our right, And most importantly OUR RESPONSIBILITY!

And right now - before this marina - all the options are still open to us. All the tourism trends are clear - in the future people will increasingly want the 'real' experience. These people will also want to know that their presence is not destroying the very things they've come to see. It is no mistake that the WA Tourism Commission's current catch cry is 'Be Touched by Nature'.

Looking around the world there are some great examples of fragile environments being managed very well, very creatively, very successfully - with caution, and with a firm grasp that you don't run risks with the golden goose.

And today, there is an 'arrival' of environmentally friendly technologies, low impact accommodation designs, and cutting edge 'tread-lightly' management practises - just coming to maturity, which would enable us to achieve a truly sustainable future for this region. It is the proverbial 'idea whose time has come'.

Today you've been asked to sign a letter, which encourages Dr Gallop to stop the resort and support regional sustainability initiatives, particularly the FUTURE NINGALOO project.

Future Ningaloo is this campaign's response to take up the challenge of delivering on this opportunity. It will do so by building on the work of past visionaries - the people who worked for Ningaloo and Cape Range to be protected as parks, many years ago. It will draw on the knowledge and understanding of the local people. It will be guided by the expectations of the tens of thousands of stakeholders who love and respect this astonishing place and who already 'signed on'.

It will input to and promote appropriate government planning and management initiatives in the region, and create new ones as required.

Future Ningaloo is an exciting community process, already underway and support is growing fast.

It IS exciting and it belongs to ALL of us. Keep your eyes peeled for Future Ningaloo - and be ready to support it.

The making of an icon area of West Australian into a world famous icon of sustainability is within our grasp - we simply need the guts to reach for it and the collective willingness to invest in that future."


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