The latest Mackay-Whitsunday Waterway Health report card continues to highlight the region’s poor water quality despite years of effort and millions of dollars to clean it up. Regulations will be required to improve water quality and protect the Great Barrier Reef.
The Mackay Whitsunday Healthy Rivers to Reef Partnership which includes members from 22 organisations representing the community, industry, research groups and government has recently released their waterway health report card for the 2014 – 15 year for our region. You can download a copy of the 2015 Report Card hereRead more
Queensland mining companies are about to have one of their Christmas presents taken away and they aren’t happy. The Newman government passed legislation to allow them uncontrolled access to underground water without a licence. That law is due to take effect in December. If the legislation is implemented then miners will have the right to water without a licence. There will be no appeal process. There will be no need for the water to be used sustainably.
The state government has introduced a new law which will prevent mining companies having unrestricted access to underground water. If the law passes it will mean that mining companies will abide by the same rules as farmers and graziers and obtain a licence.
The law is now in the hands of the parliament's Agriculture and Environment Committee. You can help ensure that the law is passed by making a submission to the committee. The website is:
Mackay Conservation Group has been pressuring Rio Tinto to live up to its corporate responsibility and complete rehabilitation of the mine.
On 4 July, Rio Tinto agreed that it would sell the mine to the small, heavily indebted mining company, TerraCom for $1. Rio Tinto also agreed to pay the Queensland Government $80 million in cash to cover the estimated cost of rehabilitating the mine.
In the past couple of months we have received a leaked copy of the Department of Environment & Heritage Protection’s report on the bond at Blair Athol that shows that there is a shortfall of $20 million in the current bond.
Industry insiders tell us that the real cost of rehabilitating the site is likely to exceed $160 million.
ABC News reporter, Mark Willacy, has been investigating the method by which a $3 million grant was made to a Brisbane company to undertake a feasibility study into a dam at Urannah Creek west of Mackay.
Earlier this year MCG engaged an engineer to undertake a review of the previous 18 studies into the possibility of constructing this dam. The review found that non of the previous studies found that the project would generate an economic return.
You can read our full report at: http://bit.ly/2djKZoS
The Whitsunday region will be a big beneficiary of the Australian Renewable Energy Agency’s (ARENA) announcement that two local projects will receive $19 million in ARENA support.
ARENA has announced that it will help finance the Collinsville Solar Power Station, a large scale solar project that will deliver 42 megawatts of electricity. The project will create an average of 50 direct jobs during its construction.
$9.5 million of the project’s $95.9 million construction cost will be provided by ARENA.
Another project in the region that will be supported by ARENA is the Whitsunday Solar Farm near Proserpine which will generate around 58 megawatts of renewable electricity.
ARENA will provide $9.5 million of the project’s $122.4 construction cost.
These two projects combined will power around 40,000 homes in Queensland.
Overall ARENA has funded six new projects in Queensland with a total of more than $500 million.
300 megawatts of electricity will be produced from the six new projects, powering 120,000 homes.
Mackay Conservation Group coordinator, Peter McCallum, said “this is great news for our region that has been struggling as the fossil fuel industry has moved away from the boom times.”
“Energy production is rapidly changing as more and more resources are put into finding ways to make renewable power more efficient.”
Mackay Conservation Group will hold a rally at Bluewater Quay at 6pm on Wednesday 31 August to call on the federal government to overturn the Adani Carmichael mine approval. Other rallies will be held in Brisbane and Melbourne.
Federal environment minister Josh Frydenberg must reconsider the approval of the Adani Carmichael mine and review the environmental legislation that has allowed the mine to proceed.
In Brisbane today the Federal Court announced a decision to reject the Australian Conservation Foundation’s appeal against the mine approval. The court’s decision means that the world’s largest privately owned coal mine now has moved one step closer to opening.
If the mine proceeds it will produce billions of tonnes of carbon dioxide and will be a disaster for the reef and for the tens of thousands of tourism jobs dependent upon it.
MCG is calling on the environment minister Josh Frydenberg to reconsider his predecessor’s approval of this mine in the light of the greatest coral bleaching event the world has seen.
Burning coal means a hotter climate and a hotter climate means coral death and death of the tourism industry. 70,000 people are employed reef tourism along the Queensland coast. Burning coal from Carmichael mine will put those jobs at risk.
The environment minister knows that there is a limit on the amount of coal we can burn if we wish to protect the reef but the laws that he is responsible for do not provide the legal protection necessary to ensure our greatest natural treasure is protected.
We are also calling on the environment minister to introduce a climate change trigger in Federal environment laws.
You can help by attending a rally at Mackay's Bluewater Quay at 6pm on Wednesday to call on the federal government to overturn the Adani Carmichael mine approval.
Keep an eye on the reef
The app is one of the tools that GBRMPA and marine scientists use to learn more about the location of marine creatures.
Eye on the Reef is a program started in 1997. At that time tourism operators made weekly reports to GBRMPA about the state of the coral reefs they were visiting.
The program enabled scientists to collect and analyse a much greater volume of data than ever before.
Teal St, Slade Point
1.45pm Saturday 30 July 2016
The Mackay Conservation Group is holding its third Beautiful Walk for 2016.
This walk will be held at the Slade Point Reserve and we will meet at the end of Teal Street in Slade Point.
We will guide everyone along the track through Moreton Bay ash forest, weeping paperbarks and grasslands, with the opportunity to learn about bird life, plant species, as well as conservation projects that are ongoing and the establishment of the reserve. Keep an eye out and you might spot a Black-faced monarch or one of the other 130 species of birds that live here.
Please ensure you bring along a hat, mosquito repellent, a water bottle, as well as your family and friends. Come and explore this hidden gem, we hope to see you there!
You can RSVP here.
Rio Tinto has also agreed to pay TerraCom $80 million in cash if they agree to take over the rehabilitation liability.
Why would Rio Tinto give away a mine and $80 million in cash in exchange for $1? Because Rio Tinto knows that the real cost of cleaning up the mess they have left behind at Blair Athol is more like $200 million to $300 million.
We want to highlight the absurdity of selling a coal mine for $1 by making Rio Tinto a better offer. With your help we can offer Rio Tinto $2,000 or more, to buy the mine and receive the $80 million cash they have offered TerraCom.
Of course our offer would be on the condition that Rio Tinto agrees to pay the full cost of rehabilitation if it exceeds $80 million.
And if Rio Tinto fails to accept our cash offer we will use any donations to help fund our ongoing campaign to ensure that they can’t offload their responsibilities to restore the mine to what it was before mining commenced.
Will you chip in $2 to help us expose Rio Tinto’s corporate tricks?
Mackay Conservation Group released a report last week which shows that tens of millions of taxpayer’s dollars will be wasted if the proposed Urannah Dam west of Mackay goes ahead
The report is a review of 17 previous studies into the dam dating back to the 1960s, none of which have provided sufficient evidence to justify a new dam, yet the federal government has recently committed $3 million to an 18th feasibility study of the Urannah Dam proposal.
The report, An Economic Analysis Of The Urannah Dam Project, found that it is most likely that for every $1 spent on the dam, only 75 cents of economic benefit would be returned. Even the most optimistic scenario from previous studies shows that the Urannah Dam would barely break even.
The key findings of the report are:
- The Urannah dam is a more expensive option to deliver water for irrigation, the Galilee basin, and for the Bowen region;
- The Urannah dam is a cheaper option to supply water to the Bowen basin, however, there does not appear to be enough additional demand for water supply to warrant construction of another water source in the near future;
- The Burdekin Falls Dam costs $11.5M per annum less than the proposed Urannah dam at delivering the same economic outcome;
- The Urannah dam provides a return of $0.75 for every dollar invested assuming full consumption of water by agriculture and mining.