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Far-North Queensland Community Survey – Results Released


About the community survey:

CAFNEC has overseen the ‘What is the Future of our Reef?’ community survey. The extensive survey was taken by 843 community members from Cairns and surrounding areas at stalls in Cairns Central, at markets and via the CAFNEC website.

Results of the community survey:

It is unsurprising to find that the community of Cairns and surrounds is very concerned about the range of threats to the health of our Great Barrier Reef with over 75% of respondents saying they thought the reef was in worse condition than 10 years ago. In general volunteers had a positive and encouraging reception when asking people to participate in the survey. Comments such as “thank you for doing something to help the reef” and “enough is enough, we need real action to protect our reef” were common.

dredgingSurvey Results Highlights:

Cairns Port Dredging proposal (Cairns Shipping Development Project)

The results of the community survey indicate an overwhelmingly high level of concern regarding the proposal to dredge over 5 million cubic meters of mud to expand the shipping channel into Trinity Inlet. When survey participants were asked how concerned they were about the proposal over 95% of respondents indicated they were concerned and  75% stated they were ‘very concerned’. Less than 5% said they were not concerned or ‘don’t know’.

85.5% of respondents support a ban on dumping of dredge spoil in Great Barrier Reef waters.

heritage in dangerWorld Heritage in danger

The Great Barrier Reef is World Heritage listed for its outstanding environmental and cultural heritage. The World Heritage Committee is worried about industrial development and port expansion in the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area. It is considering listing the Reef as World Heritage in Danger.  When participants were asked how concerned they are about this 70% said they were very concerned, while around 5% were not concerned or ‘don’t know’.

What threats to the reef are people most concerned by?

Participants were asked about 12 separate threats to the reef with the highest levels of concern being expressed regarding Industrial chemical pollution, construction of ports and dredging, farm pesticide pollution and illegal poaching of wildlife. Of least concern was tourism and storms/cyclones.

Mining on Cape York – Wongai coal mine

When asked about a proposal for a coal mine at Bathurst Bay near Lakefield National Park (around 150 km NE of Cooktown) which would involve transferring coal on barges to coal ships in the Great Barrier Reef’s waters 70% of people said they were very concerned.

politiciansFull Survey results


What will we be doing with the results?

Now that the survey is completed we will use the results to highlight important issues, follow up to inform concerned community members on the conservation priorities for our region and forward people’s concerns to politicians.

what is the future of our reef banner lores150Our Thanks To:

We would like to thank the following individuals or businesses who supported the survey with prizes or other assistance:

  • Concerned community member and businesswoman Caroline Emms who helped with printing costs and so much more.
  • The many volunteers who gave their valuable time to distribute the survey – you are all wonderful.
  • Cairns Central for donating use of a table in the centre for us to conduct surveys
  • Thala Beach Lodge – for their generous prize donation
  • Reef Magic Cruises –  for their generous prize donation
  • La Fettucinna – for their generous prize donation
  • Edge Hill Newsagency – for their support
  • All the people who participated – Thank you