Media Release, Tuesday, 25 February 2003, 4.00pm

Politicians face Ningaloo campaigners and sea creatures as Parliament opens for 2003

Today, a group of campaign supporters, accompanied by a giant paper maché manta ray and turtle, greeted politicians, including Ministers, as they arrived for the first sitting of State Parliament for 2003. With few exceptions, members on all sides of politics greeted the campaigners in a friendly manner and in some cases commended them for keeping up the fight.

The parliamentarians were asked to spare a thought for the endangered turtles now hatching along the beach around Mauds Landing where the controversial development would be built. The Premier’s decision on the marina proposal will dictate whether the turtles hatching now will face 200 metre seawalls, hundreds of boats and thousands of people when they return in the decades to come to try and lay their eggs. This is just one of many natural cycles that would be disrupted by the imposition of this structure on the boundary of the Ningaloo Marine Park.

Politicians were reminded that it has been only three months since more than 15,000 people gathered in Fremantle and at Ningaloo to tell the government to stop the marina resort and get on with sustainable management of the region. Even though it was one of the largest rallies in memory, it was just the ‘tip of the iceberg’ because supporters from the country, other states and overseas could only be there in spirit.

Paul Gamblin, Save Ningaloo campaign spokesperson, said, “Tens of thousands of constituents from across the State will expect their representatives to convey grave concerns about the marina proposal when Parliament resumes this week. Pollsters have confirmed that support for the campaign is very strong and comes from voters of all political allegiances and from across the regions.”

“This is not surprising because the campaign has always had a very reasonable approach by calling for proper planning for the Ningaloo region so that the magnificent environment is looked after while still being available to well-managed visitation. It’s just common sense. You involve the community, plan well first and only then call for expressions of interest, not the other way around as happened with Mauds Landing.”

“It is now up to our elected representatives to ask themselves how they can contribute to constructive debate about the issues facing the whole of the Ningaloo region. The community’s voice must be heard at long last and a sensible direction found for Ningaloo. The days of government lending support to irresponsible proposals like the one at Mauds Landing without doing real planning should long be over.”

“The existing issues in the region and the marina proposal are symptoms of the same problems - a lack of planning, science, community participation and direction. It is high time these were addressed.”

“The Government is beginning to move in the right direction by addressing Coral Bay’s problems and initiating regional planning but it will all come to nothing if it allows itself to be lobbied into giving the marina the go-ahead.”

The Wilderness SocietyConservation Council of WAAustralian Marine Conservation Society Australian Wildlife Consevancy

Media Contact: Paul Gamblin, Save Ningaloo campaign spokesperson


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