Feds waive through Adani's water scheme.

Federal Government approves Adani water project.

The federal government has approved the North Galilee Water Scheme for the second time in 12 months. The first approval was overturned after a court ruled that the federal environment minister’s office had not properly assessed hundreds of submissions.

The approval will grant the Adani corporation access to up to 12.5 billion litres per year from the Suttor River in central Queensland. This decision makes a mockery of federal environment laws meant to protect rural communities, farmers and the environment”.

The Federal Government has chosen to not apply the water trigger to Adani’s Water project which means there will not be a rigorous assessment of the environmental impacts of the project. Adani will only have to provide "preliminary documents".

Adani has already been fined for polluting coastal wetlands and now they will be allowed to drain billions of litres of precious river water without a proper environmental assessment. Adani can not be trusted to manage our most valuable water resources.

This is yet another free-kick for Adani who have already been gifted an unlimited 60-year groundwater licence and is currently in negotiations for a royalty holiday that is expected to be worth hundreds of millions of dollars.

The water trigger was put in place for exactly this type of project. The government is failing to follow the safeguards that were put in place to protect rural communities, farmers and the environment from water-guzzling coal mining projects.

Our region is in critical drought and the federal government have chosen to grant the Adani coal mine access to billions of litres of precious river water. Adani’s single coal mine has a licence to extract more water from the Suttor River every year than the 122,000 residents of the city of Mackay use annually.

Michael Kane

michael@mackayconservationgroup.org.au

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Irwin's Turtle - We could lose it without really knowing it

A person holding an Irwin's TurtleOne of Mackay’s unique species is Irwin’s Turtle. Back in 1990 the famous naturalist Steve Irwin and his father Bob were fishing near the Bowen River when Bob spotted an unusual white headed turtle. They caught one, photographed it and returned it to the wild. Later the pair sent the photos to experts for identification. It turned out the turtle they found had never been recorded by scientists.

Irwin’s Turtle is very good at hiding from scientists. It took another three years before a second was found and a proper identification made. The scientists who described the turtle named it Elseya irwini in honour of the pair who first alerted the scientific community to its existence.

Irwin’s Turtle has a very limited range, perhaps only 25 square kilometres in total. It inhabits the Bowen River and tributaries such as Urannah Creek where the water is clean and free flowing. These turtles require well oxygenated water and sandy banks to survive.

Irwin’s Turtle has evolved in isolation for 150 million years. We have known it for less than 30 and we could wipe it out in a decade. Very little is known about Irwin’s Turtle’s life cycle or the extent of its habitat, yet we may send it to extinction by building a dam on Urannah Creek.

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Adani's $700 million royalty holiday

Media Release 25/11/2019

Queensland government and Adani royalties deal deadline fast approaching.

On Monday the  Mackay Conservation Group handed a petition with more than 1200 signatures to  Mackay state MP Julieanne Gilbert calling on the Queensland government to keep their election promise not to use public money to fund Adani’s mega coal mine in central Queensland. 

The Queensland government are currently in negotiations to gift the Adani mine a royalty-free holiday that would allow Adani to defer royalty payments to Queensland for up to 10 years. Assuming the mine ever become profitable. 

The Mackay conservation group have gathered the petitions from our support in central Queensland and around the country because we are concerned that the Queensland government are on the cusp of subsidising Adani’s Carmichael mine to the tune of hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars.

The agreed deadline for the negotiations is the 30th of November though taxpayers may never know the terms of any agreement as both parties have remained secretive about the talks, citing commercial in confidence.

The previous deadline for negotiations of 30th of September passed without an agreement or an explanation from Adani or the Government  but spokesperson for the Mackay Conservation Group Mr Michael Kane said  that Adani Australia are so heavily in debt that the company  may not have any  assets or cash reserves that the Queensland government could accept as collateral for such a  massive loan.

“We  know that the government is  considering a deal that could effectively save or delay Adani paying  up to $700 million in royalties.''  Said Mr Kane. “In the last state election, the premier promised that no government funding would be given to Adani and that the  Carmichael mine must stack up financially.”

“Any royalty holiday for Adani would  break that promise and would amount to an enormous  government subsidy or taxpayer-funded loan.”

“Australia’s mineral resources belong to all of us and royalties are the price that every mining company has to pay so that Australian receive a fair return for our non-renewable resources. Why should Adani get special treatment when every other mining company in Australia have to pay their fair share.”

“The Queensland government has already done far  too much to support a project that will contribute to the destruction of the Reef and guzzle up to a trillion litres of the ground and river water over the life of the mine.” 

“Significant questions have been raised by financial experts about Adani Australia’s financial position. Adani Australia is currently carrying billions of dollars in debt and hasn’t paid any real taxes in Australia since 2011.  If the Carmichael project turns out to be unviable or fails, then taxpayers will be left to foot the bill to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars.”

“The fact that Adani is asking for a special Royalty deal highlights that the project does not stack up financially. There isn’t a single financial institution in the world who  are prepared to finance Adani’s mine why is the Queensland government even considering it?”

End of release.

For interviews contact

Michael Kane 

michael@conservationgroup.org.au

Mackay Conservation Group

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#StopAdani Mackay meeting & Christmas Party

You're invited to join us for an action-packed night full of fun climate action planning and Christmas celebrations!

It's our last #StopAdani meeting for the year - and what a year it's been! Join a group of dedicated and passionate locals as we end our year with a bang and plan our next big steps for climate action in 2020. Afterwards, we'll celebrate with music and food! Please BYO drinks and a plate to share 🥂🎄

RSVP HERE!

WHEN: Thurs 28th Nov, 2019
TIME: 5:30 - 8PM
WHERE: Environment Centre, 156 Wood St MACKAY

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Crazy ants threaten Whitsundays

yellow crazy ant worker and queen on a leafThe Whitsunday Region with its beautiful rainforests and spectacular islands attract hundreds of thousands of visitors each year. Most of them are welcome but there is one particular type of visitor that we wish had never arrived.

Back in July it became public knowledge that an infestation of Yellow Crazy Ants had been found around Shute Harbour. Investigations have revealed that they have established themselves in the Conway National Park and on land outside the park.

Yellow Crazy Ants have caused severe disruption to natural systems. On isolated Christmas Island several species of crab have evolved unique behaviours. The Christmas Island Red Crab spends most of its life on land, only returning to the marine environment to breed in a spectacular annual mass migration. The red crabs recycle nutrients such as leaf litter, a role that is essential to maintain the health of the island’s forests.

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Adani wants your money for its dirty mine

Adani is currently in private negotiations with the Queensland Government to secure a royalty holiday so they can afford to build their mega coal mine in the Galilee Basin. 

The deal could extend until the mine is profitable, which most financial analysts think it will never be. In documents disclosed under Freedom of Information laws, Queensland Treasury officials described the Adani mine as “unbankable”.  At stake is up to $700 million in royalties that should be used to fund Queensland’s firefighters, schools, hospitals and roads.

The government has set itself a deadline of November 30 to make a decision but Queenslanders may never know the details. Both Adani and the government are refusing to divulge information about the secret agreement, citing commercial in confidence.

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Coal miner speaks out on climate

Grant Howard lives in Queensland and is a coal miner currently working in the Bowen Basin

At 17, fresh out of school, I landed my first job as a coal miner and have been doing that ever since. I grew up in a coal heartland of Wollongong, south of Sydney, the location of some of the oldest mines in the country. As a teenager, I took mining for granted, just like I took the amazing beaches, beautiful escarpment and bush for granted.

I have worked in all aspects of underground coal operations, including longwall extraction, developing access roads, methane drainage and supervising coal mining crews in these processes.

For the last two decades I have been lucky to live and work in Queensland. I have worked through boom and bust cycles where mining corporations hired workers, then laid them off and shut mines when it suited. I witnessed the growth of automation which has led to a contraction of jobs, and will continue to do so in the future. I have also seen the industry talk up job prospects to get their latest mine approved, and then seen the actual numbers drop once production began.

In recent years I bought a piece of land outside of Mackay where I stay when I’m not rostered on in the Bowen Basin. I’ve grown to love this block but I worry about its survival too, having witnessed the severe impacts of extended heatwaves and changing rainfall patterns on the bush and the animals that live there.

After watching what climate change is doing to my land, and knowing that burning fossil fuels is making these extreme conditions worse, it strikes me we have a clear choice. We can protect Queensland’s unique way of life and exceptional environment by transitioning to clean energy. Or dig more coal, for limited jobs and economic benefit, at a time when the trend away from coal is accelerating.

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Climate change increasing fire threat in rural QLD

Mark Ogge speaks to the Kuttabul community fire forumMackay Conservation Group recently sponsored a community bushfire forum in Kuttabul so that locals could find out more about the future likelihood of fires and how to prepare.

The Australia Institute’s principal adviser, Mark Ogge, told the forum that data from the Australian Bureau of Meteorology (BoM) showed that our region will become hotter in future. We are on track to have less rainfall, more hot days and, most importantly for bushfire risk, many more hot nights.

Andrew Houley from the Rural Fire Service said that firefighters use the night time, when temperature and wind speed falls, to get on top of bushfires. 

The BoM data shows that our region currently has about 15 nights per year with a minimum temperature above 25°C. In the worst-case scenario we may suffer through nearly 50 hot nights in 2030 and up to about 160 by 2090. That will make it much harder for Rural Fire Brigade volunteers to do their job.

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Feast of St Francis of Assisi - Blessing of pets

In celebration of the Feast of St Francis of Assisi, the Kerrisdale Garden Chapel invites you to bring your feathered and furry loved ones to the blessing of pets and animals!

The family-friendly service will be held on Sunday 6th October at 10am and led by ecumenical Chapel Community members on the front lawn of Kerrisdale Gardens.

St Francis of Assisi is the patron saint of animals and the environment and his ongoing legacy is more important than ever. We have a special responsibility to look after the animals both within our care, and who we share this world with.

You're invited to bring your (restrained) dogs, cats, reptiles, birds and even horses for the blessing.

WHERE: Kerrisdale Gardens (35 Norwood Pde, Beaconsfield)
WHEN: Sunday 6th Oct
TIME: 10am

RSVP HERE!

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Sausages For Sustainability!

Join us and other-like minded locals for a beautiful day in the Mackay Community Gardens for a sausage sizzle lunch! Vegetarian and vegan options will be provided - all you have to do is BYO drinks. 

Organised by our West Mackay Community Leader, Brooke, the lunch will be a chance to talk about anything environmental in a casual setting. 

What environmental issues concern you? What parts of nature do you love and want to conserve for the future? Or do you just want to learn more? Come along and have a chat with us!

Meat sausages proudly sponsored by the local and sustainable Freckle Farm.

WHEN: Sunday 29th Sep, 2019
TIME: 12PM - 2PM
WHERE: Mackay Community Garden (Sarah St, West Mackay)

For catering purposes, please RSVP here!

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