Australia is a global top-ten deforester – and Queensland is leading the way

Chain___Burning_logs_small.jpgNoel D Preece, James Cook University and Penny van Oosterzee, James Cook University

When you think of devastating deforestation and extinction you usually think of the Amazon, Borneo and the Congo. But eastern Australia ranks alongside these in the top 10 of the world’s major deforestation fronts – the only one in a developed nation. Most of the clearing is happening in Queensland, and it is accelerating.

Only last year a group of leading ecologists voiced their alarm at new data which showed the clearing of 296,000 hectares of forest in 2013-14. This was three times higher than in 2008-09, kicking Australia up the list as one of the world’s forest-clearing pariahs. At the 2016 Society for Conservation Biology Conference, a Scientists’ Declaration was signed by hundreds of scientists, expressing concern at these clearing rates.


Read more: Queensland land clearing is undermining Australia’s environmental progress


But the latest snapshot, Queensland’s Department of Science report on land cover change published last month, showed a staggering 395,000ha of clearing for 2015-16: an increase of one third on 2014-15. As far as we can tell this rate of increased clearing is unmatched anywhere else on the globe.

showed a staggering 395,000 of clearing for 2015-16: which is an increase of one third on 2014-15, or 133% over the period

Strong vegetation management laws enacted in Queensland – the Vegetation Management Act 1999 – achieved dramatic reductions in forest and woodland loss. But the subsequent Liberal National state government, elected in 2012, overturned these protections.

The current government, elected in 2015, has tried and failed to reinstate the protections. In response, “panic clearing” caused clearing rates to shoot up, in anticipation that the state election will deliver a government that will reintroduce the much-needed protection of forests.

The Queensland Parliament is now in caretaker mode ahead of the November 25 election. The Queensland Labor Party has pledged to reinstate laws to prevent wholesale clearing, while the LNP opposition has vowed to retain current clearing rates.

Forest cleared by bulldozers towing massive chains. Noel Preece

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Qld poll shows voter support for Labor’s veto of Adani loan

_StopAdani_Logo_Master_RED_RGB.pngMedia Release

Qld poll shows voter support for Labor’s veto of Adani loan

  • Two thirds of voters support Qld govt using its power to veto $1BN loan

  • 7 out of 10 voters think Adani should fund own project

Queensland, Australia. A Queensland poll, conducted for the Stop Adani movement just 10 days before Premier Palaszczuk announced her government would veto a $1bn loan in public funds to Adani for its private rail line, shows widespread voter opposition to Adani receiving a taxpayer subsidy and voter support for vetoing the loan.

The Stop Adani campaign today released ReachTEL polling of 1,652 Queensland residents, conducted on 24 October, which found:

  • more than 7 out of 10 Queenslanders said Adani should fund its own project rather than expect a taxpayer subsidy

  • well over two thirds said the Queensland government should keep its election promise and use its power of veto to rule out any $1 billion dollar taxpayer funded loan to Adani

  • more than a third of Queenslanders said if the Queensland Government does not use its power of veto to rule out any loan for Adani, this would likely change their vote.  

For full details see here.

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EcoPress October 2017

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Lindeman136_small.jpgLindeman Island Update

Back in July White Horse Australia released its draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for its Lindeman Island resort project. The company proposed to resurrect the defunct Lindeman Island resort and proposed that nearly four square kilometres of the national park be revoked as part of the development.

Mackay Conservation Group and other environment organisations raised concerns that the temporary leases over the national park were to become perpetual. That would set a precedent for national park land to be traded for tourism developments.

We launched a petition calling for the Queensland Parliament to reject revocation of any part of Lindeman Island National Park and to ensure the national park is properly managed so as to protect its exceptional values.

Environment Minister, Dr Steven Miles, has responded to the petition and said that no revocation will occur unless there is a 'net conservation benefit'. The developer has now been given the opportunity to respond to comments made on its EIS. We'll keep you informed about any further information that comes to light.

Environmental Defenders Regional Tour

Tania_Revel.jpgBook your free ticket here

Come and find out about your rights to be involved in development decisions – from major projects (like ports and mines like Adani Carmichael mine!) to urban developments under planning laws, that impact our trees, wildlife, coastline and Reef.

The law is a powerful tool for helping you to have your concerns meaningfully heard!

EDO solicitors Tania Heber and Revel Pointon are keen to meet you on our regional tour as we make our way from Mission Beach, to Townsville, Airlie Beach and Mackay.

In this session, Tania and Revel will be providing a simple guide to how you can make the most use of your powers to influence decisions that affect your environment and community.

Environmental Defenders Office (EDO) lawyers are experts in environment and planning laws. We provide free legal advice, education and representation to the community to help you use your legal powers to protect the environment and your community’s health.

There will be time for questions and discussions on issues of particular interest to you and your local community.

We look forward to seeing you!

Climate Campaigner comes to Mackay

Ruchira-Talukdar-ACF-campaigner.jpgRuchira Talukdar is a climate activist from India who has been working on the Adani campaign for many years with Greenpeace and the Australian Conservation Foundation.
Ruchira is currently a doctoral candidate investigating coal and climate campaigns in India and Australia. This Thursday she will be presenting her work and experiences to Mackay Conservation Group members. 
 
This will be a great opportunity to gain insight into Adani's conduct overseas and the stories of the India communities affected. Come along to the Environment Centre at 5.30pm to hear her speak.
We will also be planning for our upcoming Flash mob - don't miss out on your chance to be part of this super fun event!
 

sus_social_image.jpgSustainability Social

Friday 27th Oct - 5pm Mojos rooftop bar - 2 Sydney St Mackay

It's back!

Sustainability Social is a chance to meet and catch up with fellow friends of the planet!

It ain't easy being green - so let's get together for a cold one and some laughs on the last Friday of every month!

Cheap drinks, tasty treats, a great view and even better company! Everyone is welcome so make sure you bring all your friends!

Kids welcome until 7pm (hotel rules).

RSVP and Share the event.

See you there!

Adani_petition.pngState government grabs 3568 hectares of agricultural land for Adani 

In an appalling move that is more special treatment for Adani, the Queensland government has compulsorily acquired 3568 hectares of agricultural land for the company's private rail line.

The government has also granted free, unlimited and unregulated access to  groundwater and allowed a royalties holiday worth $320 million of Queensland taxpayer money.

The mine will extract up to 12,000 million litres of water every year from waterways, diverting up to 720 billion litres away from creeks and rivers over the life of the mine. Modelling demonstrates that two springs will be shut down, which would be a massive blow to rural communities that rely on groundwater sources.

In Queensland, water is our most precious resource, both for environmental health and for agricultural use. It supports regional communities and economies and should not be left in the hands of a company that has a demonstrated history of environmental abuse, both here and overseas.

We have set up a petition to Qld Premier Palaszczuk, calling on her to protect our land and our water from an untrustworthy company like Adani, and revoke the decision made by the Coordinator General to compulsorily acquire land for Adani.

Sign the petition here. Please share the petition by Facebook and email and ask your friends to sign as well.

 

 

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Let’s get this straight, habitat loss is the number-one threat to Australia's species

file-20171017-5054-anrm15_small.jpg

Brendan Wintle, University of Melbourne and Sarah Bekessy, RMIT University

Earlier this month, Australia’s outgoing Threatened Species Commissioner Gregory Andrews told ABC radio that land clearing is not the biggest threat to Australia’s wildlife. His claim caused a stir among Australia’s biodiversity scientists and conservation professionals, who have plenty of evidence to the contrary.

The ecologist Jared Diamond has described an “evil quartet” of threatening processes that drive species to extinction: habitat destruction; overhunting (or overexploitation); the presence of introduced species; and chains of linked ecological changes, including co-extinctions.


Read more: Australia’s species need an independent champion


In modern times we can add two more to this list. The first is catastrophic disease outbreaks, such as the chytrid fungus that has been instrumental in the catastrophic decline or extinction of almost 200 frog species, or the facial tumour disease that still threatens to wipe out Tasmanian devils in the wild.

The second is human-induced climate change, which appears to have caused one extinction in Australian Territories and is predicted to result in many more.

So the evil quartet has now become an evil sextet. It sounds ugly because it is. But does habitat loss through land clearing still top the list? The answer, in short, is yes.

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BIG BOOK SALE!

BIGBOOKSALE_(1).pngThe time has finally come for the Environment Centre to clean out its pre-loved library.

We will be holding a BIG BOOK SALE to help hundreds of our old, rare and collectible books find a new home.  

When: Tuesday the 24th - Saturday the 28th of October (9am - 5pm weekdays & 10am-12pm Saturday)

Where: The Environment Centre, 156 Wood St Mackay

There will books on bird life, marine ecology, soil health, butterflies, plants and forestry, sustainable living, marketing, environmental law and economics, and much MUCH more! 

We will be exchanging books for gold coin donations, so bring a friend, your neighbour and a pocket full of change, prepped and ready to dive into the pages.

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Join us in making a #STOPADANI HUMAN SIGN!

lamberts.jpgOur politicians aren’t getting the message, so it’s time for us to spell it out for them, with giant #StopAdani human signs!

On Saturday 7 October, crowds of people around Australia will be converging on iconic locations to make massive human signs. We will show our government that the people don't want the Adani Carmichael mine and the special treatment Adani is being given.

RSVP for the rally Here! 

We know that governments will do just about anything they can to assist Adani's unviable mine get off the ground. That's why they're planning to pump $1 Billion of taxpayers money into the project using a slush fund.

We have spoken to Mackay people and more than three quarters of them don't want a taxpayer subsidy for the mine.

It's time for people in Mackay to make a public demonstration against the mine. Will you join in our human sign at Lamberts Beach?

We want to make our rally fantastic, so bring your friends, you dog, your neighbours and your Mum & Dad to help make this a huge event.

 

 

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ABC 4 CORNERS EXPOSES ADANI

adani_exposed_final.pngThis week, ABC 4 Corners exposed the web of opaque company structures,  dodgy dealings, environmental vandalism and political protection that surrounds Adani’s operations in India.
 
You can watch the program on IView if you missed it!
 
Adani denies everything, and while they are currently under investigation in India for money laundering, tax evasion and price gouging, allegations similar to these have been investigated in the past and all charges have disappeared before penalties were imposed.
 
Adani is a company that seems to wield undue influence over the police, customs and politicians in India.  We cannot allow this behaviour to infect our political system here.  
Already Adani has been given free water, royalty free coal and wants a $1 billion loan.  We want to save the Great Barrier Reef, and protect our climate.  Our aims are incompatible with Adani in Australia.
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Media Release: Report finds Adani polluted sensitive wetlands

33962498356_dd790646b7_z.jpgMackay Conservation Group says a new Queensland Government report confirms Adani’s coal terminal has polluted the nationally significant Caley Valley wetlands during Cyclone Debbie and shows the company cannot be trusted to operate a mine, rail and port operation in Queensland.

A report commissioned by the Queensland Department of Environment & Heritage Protection (DEHP), which relied on samples taken four weeks after the cyclone, has found up to 10 per cent of sediment in the wetlands near Adani’s Abbot Point coal terminal was actually coal that the company allowed to leave its site. This follows Adani being fined $12,900 for polluting the Reef coast. Adani is currently challenging the fine in court.

Mackay Conservation Group coordinator, Peter McCallum, who visited the contamination site at the invitation of DEHP to observe the contamination first hand, said “It was clear to me that there was coal everywhere we looked when we visited the site a month after Cyclone Debbie. This report confirms those observations and makes clear that Adani is not fit to operate a massive coal project in Queensland,” Mr McCallum said.

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Organisation of the Month - Congratulations BirdLife Mackay!

BirdLife_Mackay_(1).pngActive in the region for 30 years, BirdLife Mackay is the region's primary go to group for local bird lovers and enthusiasts.

With their dedication to creating a brighter future for Australian birds, the BirdLife Mackay team is often found monitoring seasonal changes in bird life and their habitat, as well as migratory and endangered species, including the Eungella Honeyeater - which isn’t found anywhere else in the world. 

The Group will also be participating in the upcoming Eungella Bird Watching and Bushwalking Festival, taking place later this month from September 25th to October 1st. The event will be jam packed with bushwalks, local market stalls, guest lectures, exhibitions and social evenings, and would be a great opportunity to meet other bird admirers.

BirdLife Mackay has monthly outings on the first Sunday of each month, where they take group members to various bird-abundant locations throughout the region, such as Demoleyns Lagoon and Lake Barfield.

Are you a passionate bird lover? Perhaps you would like to meet and engage with people with similar interests? With spring in the air, and migratory birds in full flight, this could be the perfect time to take this passion to a new level and become a member. It’s free!  You can also follow them on Facebook to keep updated with upcoming events and outings, here.

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Stop Adani National Rally

header_kooyong_stop_adani_action.jpgThis is part of a national rally  to send a message to our politicians that we do not want them spending our $1 billion on a destructive mine that will cook the climate and wreck the Reef.  

We will have big banners and signs at the iconic Lamberts beach Lookout and a drone will capture the images.  We will then move from the Lookout to Lamberts Beach and  will then take the rally into town (you will need your cars!) and hang the banners over the Forgan Smith Bridge.  

This needs to be big!! so wear red, bring hat and water, signs if you have some,  and get ready to rally  and feel the people power as we fight for a viable future.  

Meet at the Lamberts Beach Lookout by 9.00am on 7th October and we'll move on from there.   There is a small carpark , but plenty of off road parking at the bottom of the hill.

Please RSVP for this event here

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