8 May 2024

Wujal Wujal, marine groups celebrate $1.2m Jasper clean-up funding

| Chisa Hasegawa
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The State Government has funded three groups to tackle marine debris clean-ups exacerbated by extreme weather events like Tropical Cyclone Jasper as part of an overall $1.2 million commitment to recovery efforts on the eastern side of Cape York. Photo: Supplied.

New machinery and equipment to support community and environmental recovery in Wujal Wujal is coming following a $1.2 million funding commitment from the Queensland Government.

The Wujal Wujal local government area was one of the regions most severely impacted by Tropical Cyclone Jasper in December 2023, with heavy rainfall causing catastrophic damage to critical housing and essential services infrastructure.

As residents begin returning to community, the $1m funding will assist the ongoing clean-up, recovery and repair efforts, and enable restoration of waste collection services.

Wujal Wujal Aboriginal Shire Council chief executive officer Kiley Hanslow said the council was working to get community members back home as quickly and safely as possible.

“This funding will help us purchase more of the equipment we need to continue our journey to recovery from this devastating natural disaster,” she said.

“We are so grateful for the support from the Queensland Government to help us clean up and restore essential services to our community, so that we can return to a new normal together.”

READ ALSO “If all you ever do is clean, that’s all you’ll ever do”: Tangaroa Blue on a mission to keep the five beaches loop debris-free

The government has announced it will also provide an additional $260,000 to support locally-led marine clean-up initiatives by Parley Foundation, Tangaroa Blue and ClimateForce on the eastern side of Cape York.

Heavy rainfall and flooding that followed the cyclone washed tonnes of litter into waterways and coastal areas that flow into the Great Barrier Reef.

Parley Foundation spokesperson Christian Miller said plastic pollution had been increasingly evident over the past decade, adding events like cyclones only exacerbated the situation.

“Extreme weather events, such as Cyclone Jasper, is flashing large amounts of this waste [into] our mangroves, rivers, and beaches, exposing it again to marine life,” he said.

“It is very important to combine all efforts from governments, industries, individuals, and organisations to remove these toxic materials from the environment.”

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