Australia’s First Carbon Positive Island

Pumpkin Island on the southern Great Barrier Reef off the Capricorn Coast Queensland is laying claim to being officially the first carbon positive island in Australia.

Straddling the Tropic of Capricorn, east of Rockhampton, guests travel via the Pumpkin Xpress on an easy 40-minute comfortable boat ride that departs from the Keppel Bay Marina just south of Yeppoon.

Purchased by its current owners in 2003, the five beach cottages have been beautifully transformed. Pumpkin Island is proudly eco-friendly, with the beach cottages boasting wind and solar power, freshly filtered rainwater, gas hot water showers, refrigerator/freezer, cooking and BBQ’s. Visitors can literally pick their own oysters on the island’s private oyster lease, snorkel on the island’s fringing reef or swim in the crystal clear waters.

Partners Wayne Rumble and Laureth Craggs manage this lush tropical island and have participated in the Capricorn Coast Sustainable Regions Program conducted by EC3 Global on behalf of Tourism Queensland and Capricorn Enterprise. The Capricorn Coast was the seventh region in Queensland to participate in this program.

Co-manager of Pumpkin Island Laureth Craggs said, “We’re absolutely thrilled to be the first carbon positive island in the country and we’ve been working so very hard to reach this goal. Participating in the Capricorn Coast Sustainable Regions Program last year was really the help we needed to make this dream become a reality” she said. “Being a Sustainable Regions participant, we worked out our carbon emissions for the year July 2009 – June 2010, for all business travel, fuel, LPG gas and waste, using both the Tourism Queensland and GBRMPA carbon calculators. Our carbon footprint for the year calculated out to 32.5 tonnes and we have off-set 36 tonnes, which makes us carbon positive. We used one of EC3’s recommended carbon offsetting partners Cleaner Climate Ltd and we are now offsetting our emissions with a hydro project in Vietnam” she said.

Laureth said “Assuming ‘carbon neutral’ means that 100% of carbon used is offset, our aim is to reach between 110- 150% of carbon emissions being offset. Our ambition to be Queensland and Australia’s first ‘carbon positive’ island has involved using sustainable practices such as solar and wind power, bio fuels where we can, reducing boat transfers with scheduled runs and reducing waste to landfill, in order to reduce carbon emissions”.

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