A Mid West resident was this week inducted as a member of the Order of Australia for a lifetime’s work in coastal conservation advocacy.
Brad Farmer wears many hats, but is perhaps best known as the founder of the Surfrider Foundation and as Tourism Australia’s beach ambassador.
He is also an author and has established a multitude of national and global coast-related not-for- profit organisations.
“At age 12 I created my first petition to save the destruction of a mangrove habitat in south-east Queensland,” Farmer, 59, said.
“That continued as a lifelong passion — never a profession — and it’s always been voluntary.
“Surfing, conservation and communities has been my engagement, far and above any consideration for income.”
Farmer, a Horrocks resident, has taken his moment in the limelight as an opportunity to push one of his longstanding agendas: to urge the Federal Government to establish a ministry for coastal and marine resources.
“There are a number of Federal and State ministries for resource industries such as mining, forestry, water resources, fisheries,” he said.
“If you look at it from an economic standpoint, the income received from coastal and marine resources is actually far higher.
“But apart from the economic value of having a separate ministry, Australians are so invested in the coastal lifestyle that we hug the coast as a nation — particularly West Australians.
“It is the most valuable recreational and economic resource we have.” Farmer said Australia’s coast was generally well protected and “relatively” well-managed, but needed to be “future-proofed” to ensure its sustainability.
“There are certainly some threats on the horizon from foreign interests who are eyeing off some of our natural resources … and they will re-engineer the coast as a result,” he said.
Mr Farmer said he shared the honour with “all Australians who have taken a greater ownership in their little patch of paradise”.
Other Mid West residents to receive Queen’s Birthday Honours were fellow Horrocks resident Murray Criddle, who received a Medal of the Order for services to the WA Parliament, and Sandra Lymbery, a Coral Bay emergency services volunteer who was recognised for Meritorious Service.