Media Release, Monday, 30 June 2003

Campaign responds to Sunday Times

In an article on the conflict over Ningaloo last week (“Gallop to the rescue”, Sunday Times, 15/6) it was stated that “The public, rightly or wrongly, appears hostile to any development in the area.” This is not correct; most people believe that some development in the Ningaloo region is necessary to accommodate increasing tourism. But they are opposed to potentially destructive, high risk development like the marina resort proposed for Mauds Landing. The Save Ningaloo Campaign certainly believes that well planned, low impact development is needed, although we weren’t contacted for comment (unlike the developers).

But the piece was right about the public being “hostile” and we have every reason to be so. Scientific opinion is overwhelmingly opposed to this proposal. Even the Environmental Protection Authority, famous for recommending approval of nearly everything – more than 99% according to its own website - was ringing the alarm bells over this one. A flurry of appeals bolstered those concerns and raised many others too.

Public hostility might also have a lot to do with the frustration of being told ad nauseam that the marina resort would protect the environment. No one disputes that Coral Bay needs fixing. Government is well down the track with the new sewerage system and boating facilities – a positive start. Everyone knows that unmanaged camping in sensitive areas needs attention too. But dressing up this marina resort as a solution is so plainly ridiculous that it’s no wonder tens of thousands of reasonable people from across the political spectrum and the State are losing patience.

The developer’s PR might have plenty of bells and whistles but it defies both common sense and scientific scrutiny - it’s laughable but the joke’s getting stale now. One thing is for sure; only a few people will be smiling if this thing gets the nod.

Australian Marine Conservation Society

Media Contact: Paul Gamblin, Save Ningaloo campaign spokesperson


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