“Only this week I have been meeting with the Redlands mayor about revitalising infrastructure both on North Stradbroke Island and also on Moreton Island,” Ms Jones said.
“We know that the islands are jewels in the crown when it comes to tourism and certainly some of the discussions we are having is about how we link developments like the Howard Smith Wharves and Queens Wharf here to those islands.”
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Ms Jones said she was developing a strategy with North Stradbroke Island’s traditional owners, the Quandamooka people, to grow tourism opportunities into Moreton Bay.
Ms Jones recently replaced State Development Minister Cameron Dick as the minister leading the economic development of North Stradbroke Island.
She acknowledged difficulties with the pace of the plans to transition North Stradbroke Island from sand mining to tourism.
“There is always more that we can do and this will always be a challenge,” she said.
“But we know that when people visit areas and appreciate the environment, then they care more about these issues.”
Ms Jones agreed Moreton Bay had a lower tourism profile than the Great Barrier Reef, but said it was not forgotten.
“There is so much more we can do to drive tourism in Moreton Bay,” she said.
“As the minister now responsible for the economic transition strategy for North Stradbroke Island, I am very confident that the work we are going to see over the next two years will significantly drive tourism numbers to Moreton Bay.”
Brisbane Times has requested an interview with Environment Minister Leeanne Enoch, who is a Quandamooka woman with family ties to North Stradbroke Island.
Professor Connolly said not enough was being done to protect Moreton Bay’s environment.
“Moreton Bay is the jewel of SEQ but we are not doing enough to protect it,” he said.
“While the Great Barrier Reef receives much of the focus and hundreds of millions of dollars in funding, Moreton Bay is being left behind,” he said.
Moreton Bay draws 3.6 million visitors each year, almost as many as the southern Great Barrier Reef.
Tony Moore is a senior reporter at the Brisbane Times
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