Partner profile – Mackay Regional Council

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Luke Galea keeps a close eye on water quality for Mackay

Luke Galea keeps a close eye on water quality for Mackay

There’s a greater focus on water quality to the Great Barrier Reef (GBR) now, than ever before and there’s never been a more concerted effort by all levels of government to ensure a high standard. 

Managing urban stormwater quality isn’t just about monitoring, as supervisor of the Waterways Team with Mackay Regional Council, Luke Galea explained.

His role in Parks, Environment and Sustainability covers everything from construction and implementation of fishways, through to riparian revegetation and weed projects, as well as water-sensitive urban design.
Although the Mackay region is a great place to live with a beautiful year-round climate, it does present its fair share of challenges to water quality.

“Controlling our weeds is a big problem, even here in the Gooseponds (pictured),” Mr Galea said.

“There are a number of issues with weeds, Para grass and invasive species in our wetlands, which contribute to deterioration of water quality, and it’s something we need to address.”

Low dissolved oxygen levels contributed to a fish kill recently in an upper reach of the Goosepond system, which was a combination of heat, dry and nutrients entering the water. An Aquatic Ecologist and keen fisherman, Luke is passionate about water quality, which is why he feels strongly about Mackay Regional Council’s involvement in the Partnership.

“I love to see the water quality improve; we all know about the GBR and the problems associated with some of the more dated urban and agricultural practices, however we’re trying to do our bit. Each land-use has come forward leaps and bounds in recent years with vast improvements in management practices. Being involved with the partnership is really fantastic because we identify through the 22 Partners what monitoring programs there are and work on the gaps.”

Luke also highlighted how rare it is to be able to sit at a table with so many industries and organisations, to discuss common goals.

“The networking in itself is well worth it; we are trying to achieve a better outcome for all.”

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