Burnett LMAC chair Sue Burnett
Burnett LMAC chair Sue Burnett

Fraser Island marine scientist leads conservation fight

MARINE scientist and passionate Fraser Island advocate Sue Sargent is the new chairperson of the Burnett Local Marine Advisory Committee.

Ms Sargent is well known locally for her passion for heritage and the marine environment and already serves on other committees in the region and nationally, including the Fraser Island and World Heritage Advisory Committees.

Although she is based in Bundaberg, Ms Sargent spends one and a half days a week at the University of the Sunshine Coast's Fraser Coast campus.

"I care deeply about Fraser Island and it's indigenous people, I work with some fantastic community groups and departments who work collaboratively to keep it in pristine condition,” she said.

"I have lived in this region since 1997 and I have been actively working on Fraser Island with projects since 2005.”

Ms Sargent is also the chair of the Fraser Island World Heritage Area Community Advisory Commission and Fraser Island Natural Integrity Alliance.

"It has been a wonderful journey and Fraser Island is an amazing place,” she said.

"I consider myself incredibly privilege to have the opportunity to work in a place as special as it is.”

Ms Sargent said she was delighted to continue her involvement with the Burnett Local Marine Advisory Committee and was looking forward to the next three years of her term.

"The Burnett Local Marine Advisory Committee is the only marine advisory committee located outside of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park, but our influence on the Reef is significant,” Ms Sargent said.

"With a strong focus on agriculture in the region, landholders have been working hard over the last decade to reduce sediment loss and nutrient run-off.

"With a number of new members on the Burnett committee, we are looking forward to strengthening local partnerships and working with our community to contribute to the Reef 2050 Long-term Sustainability Plan over our three-year term.”

Local Marine Advisory Committees meet five times a year and are run by the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority and provide valuable feedback to marine managers on reef management policies and marine resources.

"We are the only LMAC located outside of the Great Barrier Reef itself, so we have some responsibility from south end but also have a dual role with the Great Sandy Marine Park,” Ms Sargent said.

"Our LMAC has representatives from all the sectors of our community- cane growers, the grazers, horticulture, wide bay environment council, local tourism operators, traditional, sport fishing and divers etc.

"We discuss matters which are of importance of the local community which might include projects like permanent moorings at places like Pancake Creek or Lady Elliot Island and the work there and the review of the Great Sandy Marine Park.”

The Burnett committee is one of 12 committees along the Queensland coast.

In the past, the Burnett committee supported a range of community-based projects in the region, including coastal clean-ups, increasing awareness about marine debris, community film nights and providing support for the Mon Repos Junior Turtle Rangers program.

More information on Local Marine Advisory Committees and how to be involved can be found at www.gbrmpa.gov.au or email burnettalmac@gmail.com.