University of Southern Queensland's associate professor Joachim Ribbe lowers research equipment into Hervey Bay water.
University of Southern Queensland's associate professor Joachim Ribbe lowers research equipment into Hervey Bay water. Photographer: Jocelyn Watts

Professor calls for tourist levy to fund waterways research

A HERVEY Bay professor has called for a tourist levy on to fund research of the region's waterways.

University of Southern Queensland associate professor Joachim Ribbe called for the levy after researching how the next four decades would affect Hervey Bay's estuaries.

Dr Ribbe said continuous routine monitoring was needed to understand how coastal environments such as Hervey Bay functioned.

He said there was little investment in research from either government or industry.

"In the future, we need to better understand how the Bay interacts with the waters of the Great Barrier Reef to the north and the ocean to the east in a varying and changing climate," he said.

"We lack the long-term base studies that would provide a framework," he said.

"I propose that industry and the local council could charge $1 levy per day on excursions and overnight visitor accommodation, which could be channelled into research," he said.

Fraser Coast Mayor Gerard O'Connell said the council would support furthering the discussion on a potential levy.

"I would be happy to talk to them," he said.

Cr O'Connell praised the level of research from USQ.

Dr Ribbe's research on the impact humans have on Hervey Bay's estuaries was published in a nationally released book, Estuaries of Australian in 2050 and Beyond.

He said there would be a limited impact from fishing, aquaculture, farming and development.

"Hervey Bay is a very special region - an almost pristine environment - and its uniqueness is reflected in being part of the UNESCO declared Great Sandy Biosphere," he said.



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