A Sustainable Future
The Reef, the Range and the Gulf draw us together.
Whether we live in the Ningaloo/Cape Range region or just visit it, we all share in the joy of one of the world’s great wild places. Because we love the place we also have a responsibility to look after the beauty and extraordinary biodiversity of the Reef, Range and Gulf.
The Reef, the Range and the Gulf draw us together. This is certainly true for locals in Exmouth. It’s also true for those who visit once and return as tourists year after year, many of them regulars for decades. It’s a remarkable place in which to play and work – there’s nowhere else quite like it.
Because the region is so exceptional, it deserves high protection and planning and development standards that match its special values. This means anything we build here should support the environment. After all, it’s the lifeblood of the local economy. If we look after the area it will keep looking after us.
We need to be thinking of new ways to live and do business at Ningaloo.
In an area of World Heritage significance, the most logical and sympathetic activities will be found in tourism, education and research. All rely on the same central asset and strengthen each other. All generate sustainable, low-impact employment, and as we know from 30 years’ experience, tourism, education and research bring new people into the region. Fresh faces, fresh ideas, new prospects for the future. This is what we need to build on. Sustainable and creative low-impact businesses use their excellence and entrepreneurial capacity to protect and enhance our greatest assets in the local economy. This is our foundation for the future.
The tourism industry has grown and consolidated over the last 25 years with ever increasing attention to detail and diversity. There are still opportunities to keep making improvements and offer new hospitality services and programmes.
The local community has an opportunity to capitalise on national and international interest from scientists, students and researchers, many of whom spend many months of the year based in Exmouth. The Learmonth Solar Observatory is an important information facility operated in partnership with NASA and other science agencies. It is a highly sensitive solar data observatory which measures the sun’s progress through the sky.
Exmouth is blessed with excellent schools that punch far above their weight for such a remote community. We need to honour this achievement and build upon it. The Reef, the Range, and the Gulf already inform and inspire the educational experience of pupils in Exmouth, but this needn’t stop at high school level. Exmouth is the logical site for a dedicated tertiary institution focussed on the sciences and the cultural study of this special asset. This is what happened in Cairns on the Great Barrier Reef. Cairns is over 1600 kilometres from Brisbane and yet it now has James Cook University, a major hub for marine science, tropical medicine and cyclone research. James Cook University has over 4000 Australian students and nearly 400 international enrolments. Once it expanded campuses to Townsville and Singapore, enrolments exceeded 28,000.
It’s time to move on from industries that take much more than they bring.
Now is our chance to imagine a positive, creative, steady and sustainable future for Ningaloo, Exmouth Gulf and the Cape Range.