Renowned wildlife conservationist and founder of Australia Zoo Bob Irwin has joined the fight against a large marina proposed for Norman Point, Tin Can Bay.
Renowned wildlife conservationist and founder of Australia Zoo Bob Irwin has joined the fight against a large marina proposed for Norman Point, Tin Can Bay. Contributed

Bob fights to save Norman Point

BOB Irwin, renowned wildlife conservationist and founder of Australia Zoo, is calling on all Australians to lend their voice and help protect Tin Can Bay’s vitally important inhabitants.

Mr Irwin has joined the fight against a large marina proposed for Norman Point and is campaigning to create the groundswell urgently needed to stop it from going ahead.

A final decision could be made as early as November and if Environment Minister Tony Burke approved the development, it would put an end to one of the few outstanding ecosystems left on the east coast of Australia, Mr Irwin said.

Since 2004, the Cooloola Coast community has banded together in the fight against developers the Seymour Group and the battle has now escalated to a federal issue because of the potential impact on threatened and migratory species.

“Soon there will be nowhere left for our wildlife to breed and live. If any member of the public were to harm a mangrove tree they would be fined. How is it that a marina can be allowed to be built in such an area?” Mr Irwin said.

Australians have just a small window of opportunity to have their voice heard in protest against the development and “at this final hour", the Southern Sandy Straits Marine Environment Group hopes to create a momentum that involves Australians in this “very important decision”.

The Group’s president Carole Gillies said they had made it easy for people to put pressure on the government to reject the developer’s plans.

By visiting www.marina.tincanbaydolphins.com.au and following the easy prompts, you can “Click and save Tin Can Bay”.

“The campaign’s aim is to preserve some habitat for globally threatened species,” Ms Gillies said.

“The area is unique, unspoilt and special – a perfect habitat for species that are threatened all over the world and we need to make a stand and save some critical habitat for them.”

Tin Can Bay provides habitat and breeding grounds for many species including threatened Indo Pacific humpback dolphins, and endangered dugongs and turtles.

At low tide, Tin Can Inlet and the Great Sandy Strait are extremely shallow and narrow waterways.

“Resident dugongs are highly susceptible to boats,” Ms Gillies explained.

“Boats and our marine wildlife will be forced into the same narrow channels, and dugong have been killed by simply having nowhere to dive and then crushed between the boat and the bottom.”

The highest density of dugongs in the Great Sandy Strait region has been found between Tin Can Bay and Tuan and is amongst the highest recorded population anywhere in the world.

The dugongs are just one species that will suffer collateral damage as a result of the development, Ms Gillies says. The rare Indo-Pacific humpback dolphins may not survive the territorial conflict when forced to leave the area.

“This is a nationally important marine wilderness - we need to make that clear.

We don’t have to recover it – it’s in a pristine state with outstanding biodiversity values.

“The development of a marina will create irreversible damage.

"The community has fought the developer and the State Government for the last five years.

"Now we’re asking Australians to lend their voice to help protect Tin Can Bay and its vitally important marine inhabitants.”

Gympie Times


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