Elders convene to address suffering from poor harbour health

TRIBAL Elders and concerned local indigenous community members convened to address the cultural suffering imposed upon them by the poor health of Gladstone Harbour.

Compliance from each level of government was forefront among the issues discussed, according to Native Title Applicant and PCCC TUMRA Committee member Kerry Blackman.

"Both the Federal and State Government derive benefit from industry in and around the Harbour, it's in their best interests economically," he said.

"But the traditional owners of the land suffer culturally, emotionally and spiritually."

Mr Blackman also said a key objective of the workshop was to implement strategies of managing the waterways.

"Issues of water quality control, sea grass management and monitoring the effects of climate change upon sites of value and cultural heritage are key considerations," he said.

"But implementing systems to manage them is also important".

Participants at the workshop were working in conjunction with the Fitzroy Basin Association to form the Gladstone Healthy Harbour Partnership (GHHP).

The purpose of the partnership is to establish a unified and transparent line of communication, and submit a regular report card on the environmental performance of the community.

The partnership brings together parties including the community, industry, science, government, statutory bodies and management to achieve a culturally healthier goal for the future of Gladstone Harbour.

A representative from the Gladstone Healthy Harbour Partnership said the workshop sought to reach a collective vision with strong stakeholder engagement.

Senior elder Uncle Colin Johnson said the environmental impact on the harbour was a grave concern.

"We need to do everything possible for the health of the harbour," he said.

"And we deserve a say."

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