Paperbark November 2020

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How has your November been? After such an impossibly long year, it's hard to believe 2020 is beginning to wrap up at last. We hope you enjoy our latest updates and a round-up of some interesting news stories and local activities.

In this edition:

  • November News Overview
  • State Election Update
  • Smart, Clean Futures Roundtable
  • Bushland Beach Clean-Up
  • Trivia Night
  • Green Drinks in 2020
  • Our Islands, Our Home Virtual Town Hall & Townsville March
  • Liz Downes: Queensland Volunteer of the Year
  • Krissy Regan with The Koala Who Lost His Heart


News Overview

In early November, we saw another concerning case of polystyrene balls washed up along the shoreline of Magnetic Island, less than 18 months on since the particularly significant case in July last year. Luckily, this time wasn't as bad as the last, but it remains cause for anger over such a dangerous product that has many substitutes.

Polystyrene balls on the beach

Image source: Lauren Gregory

In better "waste" news, reusable takeaway coffee cups can be used again in Queensland, provided the business can carry out a "contactless" pour. Also, Lids 4 Kids has partnered with Shed 3 to come up with ways to prevent plastic lids (milk bottle lids etc.) from reaching landfill. They hope to start collecting again by the start of the New Year, so watch this space! 

The State of the Climate Report was also released this month, and was summarised nicely by The Guardianwhich outlined temperature extremes, reduced river flows and ocean warming among the greatest impacts to our human and natural world. In response, why not email your MPand ask them for something better than coal this Christmas (like a just transition to renewables)? 

After that, you deserve a good laugh. We recommend following it up with an episode of A Rational Fear, which won the Best Comedy Podcast in the Australian Podcast Awards 2020 and delves into some pretty interesting enviro-political topics.   

NQCC Activities

Qld State Election Update

The new Labor government made a number of significant commitments for the environment, including:

  • $60 million over four years for the Protected Area Strategy which includes $28 million for new parks and $8m for private nature reserves. The Strategy reiterates the commitment to protect 17% of Queensland for nature conservation.
  • $145 million to connect three Renewable Energy Corridors to the grid and a $500 million fund to build publicly owned renewable energy power stations.
  • A 10-year Climate Action Plan to meet the target of cutting climate pollution by 35% by 2030 and set Queensland on the path to net zero emissions.
  • An independent Environmental Protection Authority to better enforce our environmental laws.

Thank you to everyone who advocated for our environment in the lead-up to the State Election. Unfortunately the pandemic and economic uncertainty pushed the environment further down the list of major issues for most. As such, we are grateful for the above outcomes and will continue to play our role in holding the State Government to account. 

Burdekin Basin: Campaign Update

Burdekin Falls Dam

The Queensland Government has released for comment the Terms of Reference for the Environmental Impact Statements for two of the proposed projects on the Burdekin River; raising the Burdekin Falls Dam and the construction of Urannah Dam. 

These will be open for comment until 29 Jan 2021. NQCC and Mackay Conservation Group will be drafting comments, looking especially at water quality (turbidity) and downstream effects. You are invited to examine these and refer any observations to John ([email protected]), heading the Burdekin basin sub-committee. The draft Terms of Reference for both projects can be found below.

Smart, Clean Futures Roundtable

Climate Council roundtable

Just last week, representatives of NQCC attended the Climate Council's Smart, Clean Futures Townsville Roadshow and Roundtable. We heard from a range of passionate people who shared their insights into Townsville's potential for a smart, clean future, from the perspectives of the economy, renewable power generation, ecology and local government. 

NQCC Campaigns Manager Simon Cheers shared his experience with "Charismatic Carbon", to highlight carbon credits which carry co-benefits for the communities in which they are created. 

We are thankful to the Climate Council for hosting this event, but also to all of the local leaders who are driving the way towards a 'smart, clean future' for our region.

Great Barrier Reef Clean-Up: Bushland Beach

Bushland Beach clean-up

Earlier this month, NQCC hosted a Great Barrier Reef Clean-up event in collaboration with Tangaroa Blue and ReefClean to help tackle the problem of marine debris and develop community awareness.

Our volunteers collected a total of four large bags of marine debris, weighing in at a total of 35kg! Each bag was then sorted with great care and data was entered into the Australian Debris Initiative database (AMDI), to help trace marine debris to its source.

Trivia Night

Trivia championship team

On Friday the 13th of November, we hosted our infamous Annual Fundraising Trivia Night and we had a hoot! Thank you to all of our hard-working volunteers, generous donors and competitors, and congratulations to Stranded Assets - the reigning Trivia Champions!

Green Drinks - That's a Wrap!

Green Drinks 2020

Green Drinks has wrapped up for 2020 - and what a year! This monthly networking event helped to keep us connected, even during lockdown when we moved online!

Thank you so much to everyone who showed up, brought a friend, contributed to online discussions or promoted it among your networks. If you have any feedback or suggestions for Green Drinks 2021, please send them through to Crystal: [email protected]

Other News & Activities

Our Islands, Our Home: Virtual Town Hall

Our Islands, Our Home

Attend this important virtual event to hear directly from the front lines of the climate crisis and learn how you can help protect the Torres Strait.

In 2019, eight Torres Strait Islanders brought the first climate justice case against the Australian government over human rights. Recently, the Australian government tried to get the UN to dismiss the historic claim. These communities are holding them accountable.

Stay tuned for the announcement of all the deadly speakers who will be joining. Register to attend now and you will be sent more info including the Zoom link on the day.

What: Virtual Town Hall
Where: Online via Zoom
When: 6.30pm Monday 14 December

Our Islands, Our Home: Townsville March

Want to take part in a local action for #OurIslandsOurHome? NQCC is assisting some passionate locals to coordinate a demonstration march along the Strand in Townsville on Saturday 12 December. You will hear from us with more details as they are confirmed.

If you'd like to volunteer on the day, follow the link below and select the "I'd like to volunteer at events" option.  

Celebrating Our Members

Queensland Volunteer of the Year

Liz Downes at TYTO Wetlands

You might remember that our May Paperbark carried the news that long-time NQCC member Liz Downes had been awarded the “Heart of Volunteering Award” by Volunteering North Queensland at their annual awards in Townsville. On Friday 27 November, Liz's wonderful contributions were propelled even further into the spotlight when she was announced as the winner of Volunteering Queensland's "Volunteer of the Year"!

This is the premier award for volunteers in Queensland, and Liz (also the Vice President of Wildlife Queensland Townsville Branch) was chosen from among 147 other nominations.

Local Author and "The Koala who Lost his Heart"

Krissy Regan with her family and book

NQCC Member Krissy Regan (left), has launched her new book in Townsville this week.

The Koala who Lost his Heart is a story about a young Koala who tries to find love after losing his parents in a bushfire. On his way he meets a friendly Possum, a cheeky Kookaburra, a serious Snake, an intellectual Emu and a wise Owl. He discovers how to listen to his heart, love himself and find friendship along the way.

The book is written, illustrated and printed in Queensland and since its pre-launch in August has been raising funds for Koala Conservation Projects. The Book has been endorsed by the Australian Koala Foundation, who have provided two factsheets at the back of the book.

The book is aimed at children aged 6-12 and is available to order on Krissy’s website as well as many other independent bookshops and retailers throughout North Queensland.

For further information, contact Krissy at [email protected] and follow her Facebook page.

Copies of the book

Yours naturally,

Crystal, Simon and the Management Committee
North Queensland Conservation Council


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  • Crystal Falknau