The Environment Minister's announcement of a new $5million National Parks patrol vessel for the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park has been welcomed.
North Queensland-based LNP Senator Ian Macdonald said this investment demonstrated the depth of the Coalition Government’s commitment to conservation of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park.
"The Reef Ranger will monitor the health of the Reef itself and the health of species that are reliant on the reef such as the turtle population on Raine Island and a variety of bird colonies," Senator Macdonald said.
The Reef Ranger will be based in Cairns and will spend more than 200 days a year at sea. It will provide an additional element to existing frameworks for monitoring threats to the reef such as outbreaks of Crown of Thorns Starfish, and track general reef health.
The Senator said the decision to maintain this capability in Cairns was a vote of confidence in the city as an important maritime hub in Northern Australia.
"The vessel is substantially faster than its predecessor which provides an edge in its role of monitoring zoning rule compliance.
The commissioning of the Reef Ranger also demonstrates the Government’s view of the importance to Queensland, and to Northern Australia, of the Tourism industry, and the vital role that the Reef plays in attracting visitors from around Australia and around the World.
"Suggestions by the Greens and Labor that we are anything other than totally committed to the health of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park are ludicrous in the extreme," said Senator Macdonald.