Protecting North Queensland’s Environment
NQCC Conservation Priorities for 2017
The environment is the key to this election, as it always has been the key to the long-term health and prosperity of our region. NQCC is calling on all candidates in the forthcoming State election to commit to securing our futures by protecting the environment on which we all depend – all species and all future generations.
With every passing day the world, Queensland, and North Queensland in particular, grow more and more aware, not least through cyclones, droughts, floods, tumbling heat records and the death of vast areas of the coral reefs on our doorstep, that we cannot continue to use fossil fuels, particularly when clean and renewable energy is so readily available.
NQCC has three conservation priorities for Queensland in 2017. [For a copy of this document able to be emailed click here].Read more
The Queensland Government recently announced a new policy regulating trans-shipping (unloading and reloading at sea) of coal off Queensland including within the Great Barrier Reef. While this looks like increasing protections it breaks a commitment by the Labor Party to not allow trans-shipping in reef waters by making exceptions for "designated ports", like Abbot Point. With a quick turn around date for the proposed regulation NQCC made a submission, available here: Trans-shipping_submission.pdf.
(As published in full in the Townsville Bulletin, Tuesday 3 October, 2017 - "Dredging spells stress")
Port Expansion – not with a bang but a whimper!
The decision of the Queensland Coordinator General to approve the massive expansion of the Townsville Port is another sad day for anyone genuinely interested in the beauty, the attractiveness and liveability of Townsville.
Yes, the project was subject to environmental impact assessment, but to call this rigorous is not true. The system involves the port employing consultants to prepare a report on the impact of the proposed development. Public comments on this report are considered (or dismissed) by the port and it is the port who delivers the findings to the government. The fox is well and truly in charge of the hen-house.
The widening, deepening and endless annual maintenance dredging of the port access channel will have direct impacts on the reefs, sea grasses and marine environment on which many marine species (including dugongs, dolphins, turtles and fish) depend, and which generations of Townsvilleans have enjoyed over life times. With annual dumping of hundreds of thousands of maintenance dredge spoil in the waters between Magnetic Island and Cleveland Bay and this being continually re-suspended by currents and wind driven waves, how could this be otherwise?
Residents and visitors to the island will tell you that the reefs and marine environment have been declining for decades – the marine tourism experience for our children, ourselves and our tourists is much diminished, shamefully, on our watch.Read more
Our biggest day yet to #StopAdani.
Sometimes you just need to spell it out for people.
The fate of Adani’s monstrous coal mine hangs on securing a one billion dollar government loan from our government. This is our moment to call out our political leaders for supporting this Reef-destroying, future destroying mine.
So we’re going to spell out the #StopAdani message loud and clear for our politicians.
As the sun sets on Saturday 7 October, thousands of Australians will have had the biggest day of action we’ve ever seen to stop Adani. We will create human signs so big that they can’t be ignored, at iconic locations across Australia and make no mistake the beach below the Rockpool, the Strand, Townsville with Magnetic Island in the background and our beloved Castle in the foreground is our icon.
With the creative team that brought you Heads in the Sand which went viral together with many of Townsville's leading singers we will create a massive human sign and sing our hearts out to the tune of the three line chorus of Let the Sun Shine In from the musical Hair. As a bonus, small, red and white cardboard placards will be available which we can hold to the sky as the drone flown camera captures our stop sign.
Clean Energy – finally, the revolution is on (Qld Government Information meetings).
If you haven’t been watching, the energy revolution is on – the rapid transition to renewable energy is taking off. Nothing like what it should be yet but it has started, it is picking up steam very quickly and it is unstoppable. And believe it or not, Queensland, not South Australia, and central and north Queensland within it, is leading (more on this to come in this blog space).
The Queensland Government is holding community information events next month on its policies to 1. transition to net zero emissions by 2050 and 2. adapt to the impacts of climate change. The link for registration at the Townsville event is here. The link to the two strategies is here.
The organizing questions are:
What does climate change and a low-carbon world mean for you, your business and your community?
What is the Queensland Government doing to lead our shared response?
I was fortunate to receive a related briefing from the Dept. of Environment and Heritage Protection (DEHP) with Queensland Conservation Council and other NGOs late last month before departing for Townsville. Sadly, the public meetings will not include political decision makers, just the committed and enthusiastic DEHP public servants who finally are on about implementation of these generally progressive but still very modest policies.Read more
NQCC submission on the Coral Sea Marine Park Draft Management Plan.
On 20 September public comments closed on the federal Department of Environment and Energy’s Draft Management Plan for the Coral Sea. This was an opportunity for NQCC to have its views heard along with groups and individuals from around the country and the full text can be found here.
You may recall, Australia was heralded as a world leader in 2012 when the Marine Park Network and particularly the Coral Sea Marine Park were declared by the Labor Government. The Australian public overwhelmingly supported their declaration. This followed some 15 years of research, advocacy and consultation including some 10 years work by consecutive governments of both major parties. It included campaigning by NGOs in Australia, such as former colleagues of mine at WWF, one of whom received a richly deserved AO in part for her role in the Coral Sea declaration. To see this good work partly unravel is disillusioning. But it is not over yet!Read more
Our AGM on Monday 19 September drew a good attendance. David Sewell, with an established reputation, did not dissapoint with his portable pizza oven.
Gail Hamilton chaired the first part of the meeting, presented her own presidential report and introduced the Annual Report prepared by Maree Dibella before her departure from the co-ordinator’s role. The usual financial reports were presented and accepted, and Russell Kelly introduced himself to the members before reporting on what he has done in his first two weeks as co-ordinator.
Russell then took the chair for the election, at which Wendy Tubman was appointed, unopposed, to the position of President. Welcome back, and welcome to your new role, Wendy!Read more
Divestment Day 2016 is coming up! Here’s a quick guide to what divestment is, the successes that divestment campaigns have had so far, and what we are doing this year.
Divestment is the opposite of investment. It’s rearranging your finances so that you aren’t supporting the fossil fuel industry through your bank, investments, superannuation or insurance. We have power as consumers to choose financial services products in-line with our strongly held convictions about climate change.Read more
The Powering North Queensland Summit organised by the Australian Solar Council and the Energy Storage Council was held in Townsville on August 31. The list of speakers included Curtis Pitt, local MPs and senior management from a dozen renewable energy projects - Copperstring, Genex, Infigen and more. “Community groups” were encouraged to attend; NQCC was represented by the President, Gail Hamilton. Dr Bill Laing, NQCC member and committed campaigner for solar energy, also attended and was kind enough to send us his summary. Here it is.
Last Saturday the North Queensland Conservation Council hosted a screening of “Chasing Coral”, a recently released film that documents the disastrous bleaching events that have destroyed large areas of coral reef around the world. Following the film there was a panel discussion featuring Dr John ”Charlie” Veron, Tony Fontes, a tourism operator from Airlie Beach and Dr David Wachenfeld, the Director of Reef Recovery at the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority.Read more