Tsunami recovery support for Thai marine and tourism experts

News and Press Release
Originally published
AA 05 64
Tsunami recovery efforts in Thailand will receive a boost with the Australian Government funding a Thai marine research and management mission to Queensland, the Parliamentary Secretary for Foreign Affairs Bruce Billson, announced today.

'Five senior Thai specialists in natural resources and tourism will meet over the next two weeks with representatives of Australian coastal research and other agencies to share ideas on improving coastal management in Thailand,' Mr Billson said.

'Revitalising the damaged coastline in Thailand is critical for the rebuilding of the tourism and fishing industries and Australian know-how and resources can make a real difference in helping the Thais recover lost livelihoods.

'The eight-day mission organised with AusAID, is part of Australia's $400,000 support program for the tsunami-ravaged Andaman coast and will contribute to important coastal management that is effective and sustainable,' Mr Billson said.

'The Townsville-based CRC Reef Research Centre and International Marine Project Activities Centre will host the visitors as they meet researchers and managers in Australia's key tropical natural resource management and tourism organisations.

'This mission follows the visit to Thailand in February of a group of Australian marine experts to assist in the rehabilitation of tsunami-damaged environments,' Mr Billson said.

'Australia has developed innovative cooperative mechanisms between government and industry partners to manage the Great Barrier Reef which will provide extremely useful reference points for the visitors.

'The Thai officials will identify where Australian expertise could benefit their country with particular emphasis on managing water quality, multiple-use marine parks, aquaculture, sustainable tourism, and geographical information systems,' Mr Billson said.

'Australia has contributed more than $575,000 to Thailand for tsunami recovery efforts which has included an Emergency Management Australia medical team and reef assessment support,' Mr Billson said.

The group, in Australia from 7-14 August, is from the Thai Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, Ministry of Tourism and Sports, Sustainable Development Foundation, National Parks and Wildlife and Plant Conservation Department and the Fisheries Department.

Media inquiries: Shane Fairlie (Mr Billson's office) 0408 680 442
AusAID (Public Affairs) 0417 680 590

Note for Media -- Mission timetable

#1 (Brisbane focus) 7 -- 9 August

The officials will be meeting with the CRC for Sustainable Tourism, and Tourism Queensland, Queensland Department of Natural Resources and Mines, Department of Premier and Cabinet, Department of Primary Industries and Fisheries, Department of Tourism and the Environmental Protection Agency in south Queensland.

#2 (Townsville focus) 9 -- 11 August

The officials will be meeting researchers from CRC Reef Research Centre, James Cook University, as well as Australian and Queensland Government representatives from the Australian Institute of Marine Science and Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority.

#3 (Cairns focus) 12 -- 14 August

The officials will be visiting the Northern Fisheries Centre of the Department of Primary Industries and Fisheries in Cairns, and will also meet with major tourism operators.

For more information:

Dr Clive Wilkinson (IMPAC and AIMS) 07 4729 8452 or 0419 130 322
Chloe Lucas (Media Liaison, CRC Reef) 07 4729 8450 or 0408 884 521