GREENS candidate Tony Fontes has a focus on the Great Barrier Reef and jobs.
Mr Fontes says while many politicians see this election as a battle between reef protection and jobs this is “way off the mark”.
“This election is about how reef protection will actually save existing jobs and create new, sustainable jobs,” he said.
The message Mr Fontes has been spreading is that the Whitsunday region has thriving tourism and fishing industries, both of which would be severely impacted by any decline in the reef.
“If we continue to dredge and dump spoils in the waters of the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area and adjacent wetlands like the Caley Valley Wetlands as currently proposed by the LNP, then we won’t have a reef in the future,” he said.
“We also need to consider the effects of climate change on the reef… now is the time to begin a transition from fossil fuels to renewable energies.”
Mr Fontes has support for his ideals within the local marine tourism industry.
Local operators David Molloy (Prosail) and Al Grundy (Explore Whitsundays) both believe the Whitsundays will have no future without a healthy reef.
Mr Molloy says in his opinion there’s been no movement by either of the major parties away from fossil fuels.
“And I [also] think that [having] someone who’s representing the community is very important,” he said.
Mr Fontes says here in the Whitsundays there are plenty of opportunities to create jobs in solar and wind power generation and to help the farmers “who are often in conflict with the mining industry over water and land rights”.
“We have lost a great deal of valuable farming land to mining [so] by reducing our reliance on coal we will ensure the future of our farmers,” he said.
“Protecting our reef is a win-win for the Whitsundays.”