Protest against whale centre on North Stradbroke Island

ON SITE: Protesters at the site of the proposed whale centre on the Point Lookout headland said the transition strategy had not been consultative. Photo: Cheryl Goodenough
ON SITE: Protesters at the site of the proposed whale centre on the Point Lookout headland said the transition strategy had not been consultative. Photo: Cheryl Goodenough

ABORIGINAL and non-Aboriginal people marched on Saturday in protest against the location of a whale centre at Point Lookout.

The facility is a project of the North Stradbroke Island economic transition strategy to build tourism in the wake of sand mining ceasing on the island this year.

Protesters said they were against the centre’s location and suggested Dunwich as an alternative.

The Yalingbila Bibula (whale on the hill) project is being led by Quandamooka Yoolooburrabee Aboriginal Corporation and the Queensland government.

MARCH UNDER WAY: Protesters march towards the headland where the Quandamooka Yoolooburrabee Aboriginal Corporation and state government plan to put a whale facility. Photo: Cheryl Goodenough

MARCH UNDER WAY: Protesters march towards the headland where the Quandamooka Yoolooburrabee Aboriginal Corporation and state government plan to put a whale facility. Photo: Cheryl Goodenough

It is described as an interactive cultural and environmental learning experience that will include the skeleton of a 15-metre male adult humpback whale that came ashore on Straddie.

Protesters said the transition strategy had not been transparent or consultative.

Speaker Brian Coghill said projects should come from residents, rather than from the government.

One protest leader Dale Ruska said the state government should prioritise an economic needs analysis on the island and research residential and housing needs.

“Most Aboriginal people can’t afford to buy land on the island,” Mr Ruska said.

“...We need to ensure that Aboriginal people can remain living on the land.

“If we’re the owners (of this land) shouldn’t we have been involved from the beginning?”

Mr Ruska said decisions were being made by people who had never lived on North Stradbroke Island.

QYAC chief executive officer Cameron Costello said they believed the headland, known as Mooloomba, could be a global whale conservation, education, research destination for residents, visitors, researchers and the education sector.

PROTEST SIGNS: People opposing the location of the whale facility at the start of the protest. Photo: Cheryl Goodenough

PROTEST SIGNS: People opposing the location of the whale facility at the start of the protest. Photo: Cheryl Goodenough

“The structure is planned on the site of the former tennis courts at Mooloomba and will complement the world’s longest study into humpback whales being conducted by the University of Queensland,” he said.

“It will also provide a stunning vantage point allowing people to view the yalingbila from land as they migrate past our iconic shores.”

QYAC and the state government will be at the headland to hear opinions on the centre on January 23 from 10am to 1pm.