House debates

Monday, 22 February 2021

Statements by Members

Bonner Electorate: Central Moreton Bay OzFish Chapter

4:08 pm

Photo of Ross VastaRoss Vasta (Bonner, Liberal Party) Share this | | Hansard source

I'd like to thank my colleague the Assistant Minister for Environmental Management for joining me at the port of Brisbane to catch up with the volunteers from the Central Moreton Bay OzFish Chapter. Last year, our government supported this great organisation with a $20,000 grant to purchase an oyster shell washing plant. The sad fact is that Moreton Bay has lost thousands of hectares of fish habitat, such as seagrass and saltmarsh. However, by far the biggest loss has been its shellfish reefs.

The Central Moreton Bay OzFish Chapter has more than 400 volunteers, with an ambitious goal to restore 100 hectares of shellfish reefs in Moreton Bay over the next 10 years and beyond. As a result, they collect used oyster shells from local restaurants and pubs and then clean and sterilise the shells and return them to the bay. While this process was previously done by hand, this purchase of the shell washer, courtesy of the Morrison government, has vastly improved the speed and efficiency of this process.

OzFish project officer Robbie Porter explained how restoring these shellfish reefs was not only important for improving oyster stocks, but that oysters and muscles played a vital role in cleaning the water, increasing fish stocks and improving marine diversity in our bay. These recycled oyster shells, once earmarked for landfill, are now playing a vital role in reef restoration, creating new homes for baby oysters and providing habitat and food for many other marine species. Thank you to all the OzFish volunteers for your hard work and commitment to the restoration of Moreton Bay's shellfish reefs and protecting Bonner's natural environment for many years to come.