Paperbark July 2020

Welcome to July's Paperbark! Read on for some of the environmental news highlights of the month before plunging into NQCC's exciting news and events...

After some delay, Independent Reviewer Graeme Samuel has released the EPBC Act Review Interim Report. The report finds severe deficiencies in the department's processes, and recommends an "independent cop" to oversee our national environmental laws. However this recommendation has already been rejected by the Federal Government, because who wants independent oversight?. Meanwhile, a university student from Melbourne has sued the Australian Government for not disclosing the financial risks of climate change. 

The Queensland Community Alliance (QCA) has announced their "Maroonprint" for Queensland's COVID-19 recovery, with environmental conservation playing a significant role. This month also saw our State Government move to ban single-use plastic and commit $10 million in funding for priority environmental projects in Great Barrier Reef catchments.

Meanwhile, here in NQ, Collinsville's proposed coal-fired power station continues to make headlines and flying foxes are being removed from their roost in Charters Towers using controversial methods. 

In this edition:

  • NQCC News:
    • Hells Gates Dam and Burdekin River Campaign Update
    • State Election Campaign: info session coming up!
    • Volunteers wanted!
    • Membership drive update
    • The Story of Plastic: backyard screening
    • Green Drinks (Fri 14 August)
  • Member of the Month
  • Other News and Opportunities:
    • Solar Citizens new Townsville shopfront
    • Don't tax the sun!
    • Townsville Yellow Crazy Ant Taskforce 


Letter to the Bulletin

Hells Gates Dam & Burdekin River Update

Research has been ongoing into the impacts of the numerous projects proposed for the Burdekin River. Observations from recent field trips by NQCC President Peter Hanley and Secretary John Connell can be found in our most recent blog post on this issue, along with the Letter to the Editor published in the Townsville Bulletin on 27 July.

State Election Campaign Launch event banner

State Election Campaign: Online Information Session

October's State Election is looming in the somewhat-distant future, and we're preparing our campaigns to ensure our targeted efforts are as effective as possible for long-term environmental outcomes, regardless of the election result. If you would like to learn about our plans and how you can get involved in our State Election Campaign, you are invited to attend our online information session for members and supporters.

What: Online event to learn all about our plans for the upcoming State Election
When: 6.30-7.30pm Wednesday 12 August
RSVP via our website to receive the Zoom meeting link

Volunteers wanted!Volunteers Wanted!

Each chapter of our State Election Campaign involves various opportunities for volunteers - from assisting at market stalls and events, to letter-writing and graphic design. If you are interested in getting involved, indicate your interest on our Volunteer page by following the link below.

Crystal is excited

2020 Membership Drive Update

See that face? That's the face of Crystal, our Community Campaigner, who is excited to announce that we've reached 140 members! Thank you to everyone who has joined, renewed or referred a friend! We currently have six members in the draw to win $50 to spend at Mary Who? Bookshop. Want to join them? It's easy! Simply refer a friend and direct them to our website to join. If they sign up and mention your name, you'll be in the draw!

NQCC Membership Referrals Leader Board

Cam Leitch 2
Penelope Sheridan 2
Peter Hanley 2
Tarquin Moon 1
Judy Taylor 1
Dominique Thiriet 1

You have until our AGM in late September to get your referrals in, so start prodding your friends now if you want to be in the draw!


Story of Plastic audience

The Story of Plastic: Backyard Screening

Thank you to everyone who came along to support our community screening of this very important film! From the feedback we've received, it seems our audience learned a lot, and our three guest speakers were also greatly appreciated for the information they provided. Thank you to Diana Condylas from Plastic Free Townsville, Ashlee Stockwell from Townsville City Council and Craig Turner from Tangaroa Blue. If you attended this event, please ensure you respond to this short two-minute survey from the film's creators.

If you'd like to learn more about the film, the work of our guest speakers, or what you can do to tackle the plastic problem locally, visit our blog post with the link below!


Green Drinks

Last month we ventured out of our houses and met in person for the first time in four months. It was delightful to be surrounded by smiling faces, side conversations and tasty food that was cooked by someone else. The venue was popular with last month's Green Drinks attendees (and the playground was a hit with the kids), so we'll be booking there again for August. Bring a friend (and RSVP)!

What: a social monthly networking event for anyone who loves the environment
Where: The Commonwealth Hotel, 46 Allen St in South Townsville
When: 6pm onwards, Friday 14 August

Member of the Month

Georgie Stewart

George Stewart is one of our most recent new members to join NQCC, after participating in our Climate Conversations training. We loved getting to know her and thought our readers would appreciate her perspectives as well, so we asked her some of the big questions...

Why did you become a member of NQCC?

I was thankfully put onto the NQCC Climate Conversations training through Dr Peter Jones, a JCU senior social work lecturer academic and co-organiser of Social Workers for Climate Action. I found this training to be very useful and helpful; it made it clear to me that I want to move from being passive to more active with regards to my actions surrounding climate change. I’m relatively new to North Queensland, as I’ve lived in the region for just 1.5 years, and have found that living rurally (in Collinsville) has made it easy for me to be less involved compared to what I was prior to relocating. NQCC aligns with my values and I’m excited to become involved as a member!

What environmental issue/s are you most passionate about?

I’m passionate about the intersection between the environment and social work. This has been a relatively new “lightbulb” moment for me during my Master of Social Work (PQ), which is exciting.

How does nature fit into your life?

Nature plays a big role in my life! Being outdoors and sinking my feet into grass is my favourite thing to do :) Connection to the environment is important for me both personally and professionally.

What words of encouragement or advice would you give to someone joining the environment movement?

I’m still so fresh myself… I think my advice would be not to think you have to “know” a certain amount to be able to start getting involved. I’m not one to quote statistics and will never be the person in the room that’s most confident in their knowledge of environmental issues/climate change - and I’ve realised that that’s okay. This is what prevented me from getting involved earlier and with the benefit of hindsight, I think that’s a real shame.

Our members continue to be our greatest sources of inspiration and support. Annual membership is $20 and contributes to the strength of our organisation. Not a member yet? Join today!

Other News & Opportunities

Solar Citizens' shop front

Solar Citizens: Townsville Clean Energy Hub

As the State Election approaches, Solar Citizens is launching a Clean Energy Hub in the Townsville CBD to engage with the local community and decision-makers about the huge economic potential of renewable energy. 

Tyler Peirce has taken on the role as their Townsville Organiser and will be operating out of their brand new office, located on the corner of Denham St and Melton Tce. If you are interested in volunteering at market stalls and future events, email [email protected].

Stop the Sun Tax

Big coal and gas generators don't have to pay for pumping electricity into the network, so why should Aussie solar homes and businesses? Solar Citizens is calling on the AEMC to reject proposals that would allow blanket exporting fees to be slapped on solar owners. Will you sign the petition to show your support?

Yellow Crazy Ant volunteering

Yellow Crazy Ant Task Force

You may have read a bit in the news about Yellow Crazy Ants in our region over the past few weeks, and the news isn't good. Firstly, the threat of existing colonies around Townsville continues to grow, as this pest species can multiply very rapidly and they threaten native species as well as human safety. Secondly, while the Invasive Species Council has been doing fantastic work here to monitor and manage them, their funding is due to run out very shortly, leaving a huge vacuum and a terrible threat.

If you'd like to learn more about the Invasive Species Council's work in this area, you can visit their informative website. To get involved with the project in Townsville, contact Bev Job (their  Community Coordinator) via the Townsville Yellow Crazy Ant Community Taskforce Facebook group.

Keep up the great work everyone, and we'll see you around!

Yours naturally,

The team at NQCC

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  • Patricia Julien
    This could be primarily about ensuring a water supply for the mines in the Galilee Basin and northern Bowen Basin coal mines. Note that all the Birriah Cultural Management Plans for these coal mining companies converge and pass through the proposed Bowen Utilities Bowen River Irrigation Project downstream from the proposed Urannah Dam site.
    If this “irrigation project” is approved water would be piped to this district from the dam then could be sold to the highest bidder. That would be the mines. The question is how is this handled by Queensland’s Burdekin River Water Resources Plan and policies as to just how much water could go to these mining companies?
    Like Urannah any irrigation projects taking water from a dam at Hells Gate most “high value” crops are highly questionable as to providing a positive return on dam infrastructure investment and maintenance.
    Palmer and others have been very supportive of a “new” Bradfield Scheme which aims to raise the height of Hells Gate dam high enough to gravity flow water south to east of Longreach to irrigate new crops there.
    But look at where that is, just west of the Galilee Basin. So potentially that water would also go primarily to the Galilee Basin Mines. And the proponents openly discuss this possibility.
    This not at all primarily about irrigation projects in my view and it may be the main reason Palmer got into politics to ensure Labor did not win so such “irrigation infrastructure” could proceed as as they would be privately owned (as is Bowen Utilities) they would not be subject to public scrutiny. Yet are receiving millions of dollars from the federal government for EIS investigations and infrastructure.
    If you agree make sure you are targeting the real reason for these projects in your campaigning. I have concluded that the “irrigation projects” are a diversion.
    The damage to the affected river and Reef systems and wetlands of national significance from all these projects will be significant.