Media Release, Thursday 6 June 2002

Premier applauded over fixes for Coral Bay’s problems – marina proposal loses last justification

The Save Ningaloo campaign joins the vast majority of Coral Bay locals in applauding the Premier, Dr Geoff Gallop, for his announcement at the town late yesterday that Government will step in to solve the town’s waste management problems. The announcement was greeted with great enthusiasm by the people of Coral Bay who were out in unprecedented numbers to let the Premier and Ministers know that they wanted them to deal with the town’s needs and reject a marina proposed for the area.

Government will provide $7.5 million to fix Coral Bay’s waste management system, which until now, has relied mainly on septic tanks. The funding will effectively alleviate one of the main threats to this part of the Ningaloo Reef. The Premier’s surprise announcement follows concerns being raised about potential leakage of sewage onto the coral reef, which is easily damaged by excessive nutrients in the water.

This funding allocation follows $2.4 million that Government has committed for the provision of proper boating facilities near Coral Bay to address safety and environmental concerns. The news represents a major setback for developers who want to build a large marina resort near Coral Bay. The developers’ primary justification for the marina was that it would address Coral Bay’s infrastructure needs, particularly its inadequate waste and boating facilities. The Premier’s announcement yesterday makes it redundant.

Ningaloo Reef is one of the world’s last healthy coral reefs. It hosts a long list of species, many endangered, including turtles, dugongs, whale sharks and humpback whales. These would be threatened by the marina, its hundreds of extra boats and thousands of extra people.

Save Ningaloo Campaign spokesperson, Paul Gamblin, said, “Coral Bay’s infrastructure needs have been well known since the 1980s but neglected by successive governments ever since. This neglect conveniently fuelled the developer’s claims that the marina proposal would solve Coral Bay’s problems. It is very encouraging to see that the Premier has at long last broken the trend by taking the first positive steps towards facing Governmental responsibilities in the area.”

“If the Government is serious about addressing past mistakes, it must reject the marina proposal, which dates back to the 1980s. The enormous development would inevitably diminish the wildlife of the reef, much of it already endangered, and would jeopardise the nature-based tourism industries in the region, which are set to grow strongly over the next decade.”

“Hopefully, this decision by the Gallop Government is an indication that the appeals of tens of thousands of supporters of the Save Ningaloo campaign are being heard and that the Government will follow through on a smart future for the region. This would mean rejecting the marina proposal and committing to undertake cutting-edge regional planning which would deliver on the great promise the area has for sustainable tourism development.”

Conservation Council of WA Australian Wildlife Consevancy The Wilderness Society Australian Marine Conservation Society

Contact: Paul Gamblin, Save Ningaloo campaign spokesperson


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