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Tony Fontes

For the past 10 months I have worked as the community organiser for the Environment Council of Central Queensland.  This work has included: recruiting and maintaining membership, creating and maintaining website and Facebook page and running a variety of events and projects. One of the more significant projects was the development of the Great Barrier Reef Divers (GBR Divers), a group of dive professionals who live and work on the Great Barrier Reef.  The GBR Divers is an advocacy group with a unique perspective on the health of the Reef; they don’t just read about the impacts on the reef, they see the impacts. Our campaign has two major goals; protect the Great Barrier Reef and combat climate change.  To this end, we have created the Great Barrier Reef Divers (GBR Divers), a group of dive professionals who work on the Reef and are passionate about protecting the Reef.  The GBR Divers represent an important element of the tourism industry.  The GBR Divers bring a unique perspective to the campaign as they “experience the impacts on the reef.”

Currently, we are building support and raising the profile of the GBR Divers through road trips and media promotion.  We are developing leadership within the GBR Divers through training workshops.  We are also collaborating with the scientific community and building a list of friendly Reef scientists who are willing to work with GBR Divers on projects and media.  Our next step will be to establish the value of GBR dive tourism through research and a report. We are building towards future government decisions regarding the Abbot Point/Carmichael Mine project.  We are also preparing for the federal election where the Reef will become a major campaign issue.