Conservation group calls for urgent action to prevent future coral bleaching

Media Release

24 April 2020

Mackay Conservation Group is mobilising the local community to speak out about climate change and its devastating impact on the Great Barrier Reef.

BleachedAcropora_MagneticIsland_March2020_KlaraLindstrom.jpgOver the past five years the Reef has experienced three major coral bleaching events. The most recent coral bleaching happened over the past month and was the most widespread yet seen. Persistent or prolonged bleaching can lead to the death of coral.

Director of the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies, Professor Terry Hughes, said in a media statement earlier this month “For the first time, severe bleaching has struck all three regions of the Great Barrier Reef – the northern, central and now large parts of the southern sectors.”

Widespread coral reef bleaching is linked to extremely hot sea temperatures caused by climate change. In February sea surface temperatures were the hottest on record.

For the first time ever, many reefs offshore from Mackay suffered from severe bleaching during the 2020 event

Whitsunday diver instructor, Tony Fontes, said “I am confident that Reef tourism will survive the COVID pandemic. It won’t be easy and many individual operators probably won’t make it. 

“But beyond this pandemic, our continued survival is entirely dependent on a healthy Great Barrier Reef, and a healthy Reef is something that we can no longer take for granted.”

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Mackay Regional Council- Candidate Climate Survey Results

Voting in council elections can be difficult. Even long term residents can find it hard to find candidates that they can confidently say represent their values or policy views.

With this in mind, the Mackay Conservation Group surveyed all 21 candidates running for election in the Mackay Regional Council about their views on key climate change issues.

The survey asked council candidates to share their views on three questions all related to climate change. Candidates were asked to respond by indicating their level of support.

The questions were:

  • Do you support Mackay Regional Council declaring a climate emergency?
  • Will you support Mackay Regional Council planning for a zero net emissions regional economy by 2050?
  • Do you support the diversification of the Mackay region’s economy and a just transition for workers in thermal coal mines?
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Mackay Climate Petition

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Media Release - Rivers fundraiser exceeds expectations

2 March 2020

The threat to wildlife posed by the proposed Urannah Dam has inspired community members to donate more than $20,000 to Mackay Conservation Group over the past six weeks.

Late last year the group began planning a fundraising swim-a-thon, hoping to raise $10,000 for a campaign to highlight the impact Urannah Dam would have on the Irwin's Turtle.

The Swim For Our Rivers fundraiser attracted a lot of community support and more than doubled expectations.

Mackay Conservation Group coordinator, Peter McCallum, said "donors contributed amounts from $5 to several thousand dollars.

"We were stunned when one person approached us to say that they would match any donation we received in the last week of the campaign, up to $10,000. It was such a pleasant surprise.

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Mackay Conservation Group logo

Media Release

23 February 2020

Public Donates $12,000 To Protect Rivers

Members of Mackay Conservation Group have plunged headlong into a campaign to safeguard our rivers.

Community members have donated $12,000 to Mackay Conservation Group’s campaign to protect the region’s rivers from pollution, overuse and dams. 

Boy swimming in a poolThe group organised the Swim For Our Rivers swim-a-thon at the Pioneer Pool in North Mackay on Saturday. 

Eight teams participated in the fundraising event, with a total of more than 40 people involved, aged from five to seventy-five. 

Mackay Conservation Group will use the funds to commence a campaign that aims to protect the Urannah Creek, west of Mackay, from a proposed dam. 

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Adani Found Criminally Liable for Land Clearing

 

Adani has been found guilty by a Queensland court for the criminal offence of providing false and misleading information to the Queensland government about land clearing at its mine site in central Queensland. The charge carried a maximum penalty of 2.8 million dollars and up to two years in jail. Adani was only fined $20 000 but the offence reflects badly on their corporate credibility and their claim to be a fit and proper organisation, trusted to conduct major mining operations in Australia. 

The conviction of providing false or misleading information to government regulators is a serious offence and Adani's actions undermine the integrity of the system that is supposed to protect communities, vegetation, groundwater, the reef and rivers from pollution and exploitation.

Adani has form on breaking our collective trust and misleading the community about capital work at its mine site, letting coal sludge flow into the Great Barrier Reef coastal waters and polluting the Caley Valley wetlands. Adani continues to mislead about the number of jobs their mine will create.

This conviction is yet another reason why we can't trust Adani with our precious icons like the Great Barrier Reef and the Great Artesian Basin.

 Background - ABC reporting link

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-02-06/adani-fined-after-pleading-guilty-court-qld/11932640

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Adani Water Grab

Stop Adani protesters17 January 2020 Shared from Radio 4MK
https://www.4mk.com.au/news/local-news/124030-adani-responds-to-claims-of-water-grab

Adani Responds To Claims of 'Water Grab'
By Michelle Brewer

Community opposition is growing against Adani’s plan to extract up to 12.5 billion litres per year from the Suttor River in central Queensland according to the Mackay Conservation Group.

The group said, "Hundreds of people have written to the Federal Minister Susan Ley objecting to the federal government’s handling of Adani’s water scheme".

In December the Mackay Conservation Group requested that supporters contact the federal member for environment Susan Ley and ask her to urgently review Adani’s application to extract 12.5 billion litres of fresh water annually from the Suttor River in central Queensland. in response, over 500 community letters have been sent to the minister’s electoral office over the last few weeks.

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Come and work with us in 2020

One of the MCG's community organisers, Emma Barrett, resigned late last year to return to her home in Western Australia. So now we're hoping to find someone who is looking for a challenging new role in 2020 as a community organiser for our Central Queensland coal and climate change campaign. 

As a Mackay Conservation Group community organiser you will work as part of a small team to:

  • identify, recruit and manage a team of local campaign volunteers according to a plan developed by Mackay Conservation Group;
  • contribute to and provide feedback on the campaign plan;
  • train and motivate campaign volunteers;
  • reliably and consistently record data;
  • engage in written and oral communication with members, supporters and the general public, face-to-face and through various print and electronic media;
  • maintain parts of the MCG website and social media platforms;
  • organise campaign related events

To find out more about the job please click the button below to download the position description.

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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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