Alannah MacTiernan

Alannah MacTiernan

Minister for Planning and Infrastructure

    Independent expert appointed to investigate Coral Bay boat ramp options

    10/01/2005 1:30 PM

    The State Government today appointed an independent expert to investigate the environmental impact of boat ramp developments at Coral Bay on the Ningaloo Coast.

    Emeritus Professor Alistair J Gilmour will conduct an independent inquiry into the possibility of building an environmentally acceptable boat launching facility at northern Bills Bay.

    Professor Gilmour is the chair of environmental studies at Macquarie University and a recognised leader in his field - he has been a specialist consultant, facilitator and expert reviewer on many environmental and infrastructure projects across Australia.

    He has also had practical experience in managing coral reefs as the executive officer for the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority in the 1980s.

    The appointment follows a recent visit to Coral Bay by Planning and Infrastructure Minister Alannah MacTiernan and her subsequent commitment to provide independent assessment of launching facility options.

    Ms MacTiernan said Professor Gilmour’s extensive background in environmental planning and management, coupled with his facilitation skills, made him the ideal choice for the task.

    “Professor Gilmour’s experience in marine ecology, environmental management and impact assessment is well noted and well respected, and I am very pleased to have his expertise on the team,” the Minister said.

    “We understand that the community holds a strong preference for a northern Bills Bay site, and we have suspended development of the Environmental Protection Authority-approved Monck Head site until the independent investigation is completed.

    “With Professor Gilmour heading up the inquiry, we can re-examine whether there is any way an nvironmentally-acceptable facility could be built at northern Bills Bay.”

    At present, Professor Gilmour is on the board of the World Wide Fund for Nature, the National Oceans Advisory Committee and the Journal of Environmental Planning and Management.

    He has recently worked in Western Australia as a consultant to the Edith Cowan Centre for Ecosystem Management.

    The independent inquiry's tasks will include:
    • utilising all existing information and documents relating to the Coral Bay area to ascertain whether a new proposal in northern Bills Bay could be made environmentally acceptable;
    • conducting a site visit to northern Bills Bay;
    • meeting representatives from the Coral Bay Progress Association, Shire of Carnarvon, Department of Conservation and Land Management and the Department for Planning and Infrastructure, Environmental Protection Authority, Department of Environment, the Marine Parks and Reserves Authority and other agencies;
    • further consultation with technical specialists as required; and
    • submitting a final report to the Minister for Planning and Infrastructure.
    Ms MacTiernan said a final report would be required within the next three months and the Gallop Government is committed to providing a safe and environmentally acceptable boating facility in the area.

    Minister's office: 9213 6400