Whitsunday Conservation Council

News from the Treetops

  Jul & Aug 2021                                                                                                              Whitsunday Conservation Council Inc

In this Edition

The Great Barrier Reef Festival is fast approaching, starting on August 5 and running through August 8.  The Whitsunday Conservation Council will be participating in a trio of Festival events. All events are free.

Protecting the Great Barrier Reef Workshop

Friday, August 6, 10:00 am to 12:30 pm

The Lookout Lounge, Coral Sea Marina

Come along and learn from climate action leaders and advocates for reef research and see what you can do to encourage the long-term health of the reef.

The workshop includes:

  • Presentations and interactive sessions on the reef and the marine environment
  • Question and Answer session with our local Master Reef Guides
  • Talks from Tangaroa Blue, Whitsunday Climate Change Innovation Hub and Healthy Rivers to Reef Partnership.

Nature Celebration Whitsundays at the Night Markets and Fireworks

Friday, August 6, 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm

Airlie Beach Foreshore

Nature Celebration Whitsundays is an annual event run in conjunction with the Reef Festival to bring environmentally-minded people and groups together to celebrate their work and passion. This is a great opportunity for the public to network with groups and gain a better understanding of local environmental issues in a relaxed and fun evening.

Nature Celebration Whitsundays is aimed at people who are concerned about the current environmental issues in the Whitsundays. It is quite surprising just how many organisations there are in our region, all with the mission of protecting our natural environment. There are organisations that work to protect our forests, our waterways, our wetlands, and, of course, our reefs.

The many environmental organisations in our region will be on display to promote their activities to attendees at the event.  For those working with one of the many wonderful organisations in the Whitsundays, come along and share your passion with the community and meet others with similar passions. For those not yet working with one of the many diverse organisations in the Whitsundays, come along and find out what you have been missing. You will be inspired by what you discover at this forum.

Rotary Street Parade

Saturday, August 7, 4:00 pm to 5:00 pm

Parade marshalling in the Broadwater Avenue carpark Airlie Beach from 3pm, so please head for us around that time looking for float number 18.

Airlie Beach Main Street

There will be fun for all the family at the annual parade which showcases our region’s businesses, organisations, schools and community groups.

Airlie’s Main Street will be a sea of colour with lots of music creating a great atmosphere, as young and old, locals and tourists, line the streets to watch the parade and soak up the entertainment.

The Whitsunday Conservation Council will be entering our Reef float. We would love for everyone to join us on the day. You can march along beside the float and help promote a healthy Reef. 

We are holding a get together for members at the Galbraith Gardens in Galbraith Park Rd roughly behind Centro.

Due to CV19 and other factors we ask that you RSVP by email to admin@whitsundayconservation.org.au.

Supporters may like to sign up as members and enjoy the fun.

Bring whatever refreshments you prefer, including a mug (due to CV19) and a folding seat if you are not good at standing for too long.

The main feature will be to introduce members to the work being done at the Whitsunday Organic Community Gardens.  There will be a walk and talk and the opportunity to meet some wonderful people.

Don’t miss it – see you there.

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) has delayed a proposal for the Great Barrier Reef to be listed as “in danger” of being removed from the list of World Heritage sites.

UNESCO cited two major threats to the World Heritage status of the reef – climate change, which has spurred three mass coral bleaching events since 2016, and water pollution from runoff out of agricultural and urban areas.

However, Federal Environment Minister Sussan Ley spearheaded a whirlwind campaign to delay a vote on the reef’s status, including a European tour, while ambassadors of more than a dozen countries were flown to the reef to see healthy corals.

WCC is disappointed that UNESCO has delayed the decision. In 2019, the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority (GBRMPA) downgraded the outlook for the Reef from poor to very poor. This was based on the work of Australia’s best reef scientists and managers.

Whether the Government likes it or not, the Reef is, in fact, “in danger” and postponing that decision doesn’t change a thing. Decades of poor water quality has reduced the resilience of the Reef. We are already at 1.2 degrees C of global warming. Over the past 5 years, three mass bleaching events, powered by unprecedented underwater heat waves, has destroyed up to 50% of the Reef’s hard coral cover.”

However, there was some good news. Although UNESCO has delayed the “in danger” decision, they have asked Australia to provide an update on the reef’s health in February next year. Based on this report, UNESCO will reconsider the “in danger” listing in June or July next year. It is also quite likely that UNESCO will send out a team to assess the health of the Reef and what measures Australia is taking to protect the Reef.

The delay could prove to be a good thing for the Reef. The pressure is now on the Federal Government. They have only 6 months to develop a climate policy that will protect the Reef. Approving new coal and gas projects will be a very bad look for a Government claiming to care about the Reef.

Should be an interesting 6 months



A big thank you to all those who submitted an objection to the 47-metre high-rise proposal at Port of Airlie. All 2035 of you! It is now in the hands of the council. Let’s hope they heed the community’s concerns.

Some of you may have received a council response to your submission that read “submission deemed not properly made”. What does this mean? It means that your opinion still counts, but if the viability of this project ever went to court, you and your submission would not be accepted. Frustrating perhaps, but that’s what happens when you deal with the council.

For future reference, WCC, Fight for Airlie and Save Our Foreshores has edited the submission templates to avoid this technical glitch in the future.

It can take some time before the council makes any decision on this project and other high-rise projects so stand by. We will endeavour to keep you informed. Rest assured that Fight for Airlie and Save Our Foreshores will keep the pressure on the council.

Whitsunday Conservation Council continues to push for better protection for our endangered turtles and dugongs through the implementation of a go-slow zone in Pioneer Bay.

WCC recently met with authorities to discuss the go-slow proposal. Two points were made very clear at the meeting.

  1. There are numerous examples of successful go-slow zones throughout Queensland.
  2. Pioneer Bay is an unusual and complicated situation due to the fact that it is managed by a variety of government agencies; Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority (GBRMPA), Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service (QPWS), Whitsunday Shire Council (WRC) and Marine Safety Queensland (MSQ).

Obviously, this will require some serious negotiations with up to 4 government agencies. Early indications suggest that the various agencies support the idea but need to work out how to best proceed.

SAT MARKET STALL: As you are probably aware, WCC conducts a market stall the last Saturday of each month at the Airlie Beach Lions Community Markets.
Not only could you come to visit with us, you too could be part of our team giving information about various projects to the inquiring public and helping raise awareness of issues affecting both our land and marine environments.  Not hard work on the job training provided though sometimes it can get just a bit too windy! Only job requirements, a smile and to enjoy talking with people.   Just 2 hours of your time between 0700 – 1200.
BUT there’s more:  If you enjoy a crisp, dark morning slowly breaking into a glorious day as the sun rises over Mandalay.  Then have we got a spectacular volunteer job for you!
MARKET STALLHOLDER PARKING:  With the generous provision by Whitsunday Sailing Club of their land adjacent to Port of Airlie, WCC supervises parking for stallholders.  Set up 0500, gates open to vehicles 0530 and are closed again 0800.  We return again at 1230 to open the gate for vehicle exit and close it again at 1400.
After conducting this activity for several months,  we do have three experienced supervisors but they do need another person  to assist them supervise entry to the carpark. 0500 – 0800.
Yes, it is an early start, but this activity is an important part of WCC’s fund raising, so if you’re usually up and about at 0500 Saturday mornings and want to help, please contact WCC asap.
And wow, we do get to see some awesome and sunrises and rainbows!

If you are like most people, you probably put renewal notices in the “do later” folder and hope that it takes care of itself. 

The subscription is either too much so you decide not to renew, or too little so you feel you can’t be bothered and that it won’t make any difference anyway.

Have a look our Treetops webpage and go to the bottom of the list to find Charlie Pickering takes on Alan (cash for comments) Jones over his famous “grain of rice” Australia is too small to make a difference on climate change.

Each subscription to WCC is like that grain of rice, not just in monetary terms but in terms of building an effective force that will get your voice heard by governments at all levels.  We ask only for a $1 but having you as a member makes us a million dollar force for environmental awareness.

But there is more to it.  The federal government makes it hard for charitable environmental organisations to exist in Australia.  We are bogged down in red tape and membership numbers is one of them.

So please, make your membership worth a million dollars and renew as soon as you get the renewal notice.