September Update from the Chair – Di Tarte

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Thanks to the ongoing support of partners 2017/18 is shaping as another busy and productive year for the Partnership. At the June partners meeting, the annual budget and Program Plan for the next 12 months was agreed. The plan maps an ambitious work plan encompassing our core work of producing the annual regional waterway health report card as well as filling data gaps, initiating new projects to improve our understanding of the region, and continuing and strengthening our communications and education activities.

Key to the Partnership’s success has been the financial recommitment of all partners with increased funding from the Queensland government and a 2-year commitment from the Australian government. In the near future, we hope to welcome several new partners who have expressed strong interest in joining.

Since our April e-newsletter the Partnership’s staff and technical working group have been very busy compiling and synthesising the data for the next regional waterway health report card due for release in late October. Importantly the Partnership has been provided funding to undertake the baseline water quality, seagrass and coral monitoring for the southern inshore marine zone which will fill a priority gap in the region’s monitoring program.

We also welcome the appointment of Dr Judith Wake of Mackay Campus of Central Queensland University as the Independent Chair of the Technical Working Group for both the Mackay-Whitsunday and Wet Tropics Partnerships.

For readers interested in understanding the implications of the 2016 and 2017 mass coral bleaching events on future management of the Reef, I recommend reading the advice provided to the recent GBR Ministerial Forum by the GBR Independent Expert Panel.

Di Tarte
Chair, Mackay-Whitsunday Healthy Rivers to Reef Partnership

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