Paperbark newsletter May 2016

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Welcome to the May edition of Paperbark!

With a new month comes a new acting coordinator. I, Maree, would like to thank Wendy Tubman for her enormous contributions to NQCC over the past years in the position of coordinator. Filling her role is a responsibility I’m not taking lightly and I am diving straight into continuing the good work of NQCC as the voice for the environment.

In this issue: Pollution Free Politics, Vegetation Management, two movie screenings, Eco-Fiesta, a solar farm for Townsville, Adani in court, government attacks environmental groups, Coastcare and more.

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Welcoming our new coordinator

Back in October 2011, Wendy Tubman, then a member of the NQCC Board, volunteered to step into the vacant role of Coordinator for a three month period ‘while we found someone else’. Four and a half years later she is leaving NQCC so that she can stand as the Greens candidate for the seat of Herbert in the forthcoming federal election.

It’s hard to say ‘all the best’ to Wendy without appearing to take a party-political stance, which we avoid, but we can and do thank her for the enormous time and effort she put into NQCC.

But NQCC isn’t going away, of course. We have a young, enthusiastic and environmentally well-connected woman standing in as Acting Coordinator until we advertise the position in three months time. She is Maree Dibella (right), who has a Degree in International Studies and, until recently, was working with the Green Army as a Team Supervisor.

Maree is contactable on the NQCC numbers (07) 4771 6226 or 0428 987 535 and at [email protected] from next Monday on. Please feel welcome to contact her if you have any questions about current NQCC campaigns or how you can become more involved.

Maree Dibella

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Paperbark April 2016

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In this issue: No Underground Coal Gasification for Queensland - 93% of the Reef is bleached - Queensland Weed and Pest Management - Magnetic Island Rehab - Rescuing the Reef - Beach Rubbish - Climate Change and Flood Risks - Other Local Voices

A newsletter packed with things that you can do to help NQCC and other ENGOs to help the environnment. But first, some good and some very bad news…

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Press release: Vote encourages ‘panic’ tree-clearing in Queensland

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Following is the text of a media release distributed by NQCC on 18 March:

Panic and even illegal tree clearing may be the result of the Queensland Parliament’s delaying of an ALP Bill to limit tree-clearing throughout the State, according to North Queensland Conservation Council (NQCC) Coordinator Wendy Tubman.

The Bill conformed with the ALP’s pre-election promise to overturn the Newman government’s devastating tree-clearing laws. However, the progress of the Bill was stymied in the Queensland House last night by the last-minute and inexplicable about-face of Rob Pyne MP (former government, now Independent, member for Cairns). After assuring numerous constituents and stakeholders that he would support the ALP on this issue, Mr Pyne voted with the LNP and the Katter Party to slow its passage. The previous LNP legislation has seen a significant increase in tree-clearing through the State.

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Rescuing the Reef – Love & Money (public forum)

7pm Thursday 31 March, Townsville Yacht Club, 1 Plume St, South Townsville

Speakers: Jeremy Goldberg, CSIRO; Jon Brodie, JCU

When it comes to love, our Great Barrier Reef has no equal.

Three out of four Australians feel that the Reef is part of their identity as Australians, according to new research led by CSIRO’s Jeremy Goldberg. And as Australia’s ‘most inspiring icon’ the Reef was found to be over five times more significant than Uluru.

But when it comes to money, the Reef just ain’t up there.

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Press release: NQCC calls for stronger government action as coral bleaching worsens

This is the text of a media release distributed by NQCC on Monday 14 March:

North Queensland Conservation Council is extremely concerned that coral bleaching in the Far North of the Great Barrier Reef is now so bad that the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority (GBRMPA) has upped its response to level 2.

In the light of this, NQCC calls on government to prevent further Reef degradation by taking strong action on climate change and better financing water quality improvement programs.

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Paperbark February 2016

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In this issue: Welcome back; Feeling the heat; NQCC News in brief; Carmichael Mine; Contaminated dust deposition; Water issues; A GLOBAL agreement on climate change – Paris December 2015; Divestment – Westpac commitment, Market Forces ‘Burned’ Report; improved SuperSwitch; Decarbonisation – Inspiration for Action; Earth Hour; Townsville Against Live Export; Turning clicktivists into real-world activists; Diary Dates.

Welcome back
It seems crazy to be wishing people a happy new year when we are over a 10th of the way through 2016 – but we do hope that the year ahead will be a good one for you and yours.

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Qld government approves Carmichael Mine

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In an expected but infuriating and unreasonable move, the Queensland government yesterday approved an environmental authority (EA) for Adani in relation to what is being referred to as ‘the $16 billion Carmichael Coal Mine and Rail Project’. The obvious flaw in this title is, of course, that Adani does not have the $16 billion – and has precious little chance of raising it.

The EA is the second last legislative approval needed – the last being a mining lease. This will be approved (or not!) by the Department of Natural Resources and Mines, the bailiwick of Dr Andrew Lytham. Minister Lytham has said that he is not interested in ‘fast-tracking’ the project (a request of Adani and Townsville Enterprise Limited, amongst others) and that it has to go through due process.

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Keeping up with Abbot Point

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Fresh back from Paris, on Monday this week, Greg Hunt (again) gave his approval for the expansion of the Abbot Point port. The expansion would be necessary for what would be Australia’s largest coal mine, Adani’s Carmichael mine, to go ahead.  (Prize to anyone who can explain how those two fit together!)

To refresh memories in this complicated process, Minister Hunt’s first approval for the port expansion allowed the dredge spoil to be dumped in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park – that was stymied by legal action by NQCC and ended up with a law banning spoil being dumped anywhere in the Marine Park.

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Paperbark December 2015

Paperbark is a monthly e-letter of current NQCC activities, campaigns, news and events

The Paris agreement

The people marched, leaders and the world’s powerful converged on Paris, and an agreement was reached. Better than past outcomes? Definitely. Sufficient to address the problem? Unfortunately not.

As George Monbiot wrote in the Guardian, ‘… the Paris agreement is full of soft facts: promises that can slip or unravel. Until governments undertake to keep fossil fuels in the ground, they will continue to undermine the agreement they have just made.’

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