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Taking the Mary message north

Arthur Gorrie and Glenda Pickersgill prepare to take the Mary River message to other Queensland communities with competing land use issues.
Arthur Gorrie and Glenda Pickersgill prepare to take the Mary River message to other Queensland communities with competing land use issues. Craig Warhurst

THE highly successful Mary Valley anti-dam campaign has become a much-admired example of community campaigning, with academic researchers and other regional community organisations increasingly keen to study the strategies and specifics of the crusade.

After an address to the Riversymposium at Brisbane Convention Centre last year, Save the Mary River Co-ordinating Group President Glenda Pickersgill and The Gympie Times senior reporter Arthur Gorrie have now been invited to take the message north.

They have been asked to address next Friday’s members’ forum of the Fitzroy River and Coastal Catchments organisation in Rockhampton.

The Fitzroy River group ties together a range of farming, business and conservation groups in a way similar to the Mary River Catchment Co-ordinating Committee.

The vast Fitzroy catchment area, which goes from Gladstone to near Mackay, faces similar land use challenges to our area, with the addition of Barrier Reef issues, coal mining and major export shipping facilities.

Executive officer Cameron Wearing said the area faced issues including increased competition among land uses – urban, horticulture, national parks, agriculture and mining – an ageing demographic and the cultural divide between urban and rural populations.

Mr Wearing said he had seen the Riversymposium presentation and thought FRCC members would also “get a lot out of hearing it as well”.

“I am interested in the lessons in (community) advocacy (from the Mary River campaign) as this is an area in which the FRCC has not done much work, but for which it has plenty of scope,” he said.

Ms Pickersgill said she was keen on “sharing what we’ve learned and helping other communities to build campaigns to protect the environment in ways that don’t hurt business, with wide community involvement, networking and a clear understanding of what the issues are.

“The environment is vital to healthy communities, to our future generations and to building economically viable business,” she said.

The environment is vital to healthy communities

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