On March 8, the Queensland government introduced a bill into the parliament to amend tree clearing laws. The parliament is now asking for submissions about the bill and we only have until midday on Thursday 22 March to make the laws stronger.
To make a submission click here: mackayconservationgroup.org.au/treeclearingsubmission
The most recent government report shows that 400,000 hectares of bushland was destroyed in Queensland during 2015-16. The previous year 300,000 hectares were lost. Over five years, more than one million hectares were bulldozed. That's equivalent to 1000 bulldozers driving side-by-side, destroying forests all the way from the New South Wales border to the tip of Cape York and killing 46 million native animals in their path.
You can help put an end to this uncontrolled destruction of wildlife habitat by making a submission to the Queensland parliament about the new tree clearing laws. By adding your voice the parliament will know that Queenslanders want strong laws that protect important habitat.
Make your submission by clicking here: mackayconservationgroup.org.au/treeclearingsubmission
Is your electrical bill going through the roof?
Are you concerned about carbon emissions and climate change?
You are not alone but together we can create a brighter future.
The forum will bring together experts in the field of renewables, who will explain the current and very bright future of renewable energy in Australia.
You can also meet with renewable energy providers who can provide you with the technical details on how to bring your electrical bill down and reduce your carbon emissions.
When: Saturday, April 7, 2018, 1:00 pm to 5:00 pm
Where: Mackay Entertainment and Convention Centre
To register for this free event (donations are welcome), go to https://everybodywins.eventbrite.com.auRead more
Veteran journalist, Dennis Atkins, wrote in the Courier Mail recently that Bill Shorten's equivocation on Adani could cost his party the next election. He says that there's no doubt that Adani is unpopular with voters and that "even some people in northern Queensland don’t like it."
A few months ago a dedicated group of volunteers surveyed people at local supermarkets to find out what Mackay residents thought about Adani. More than a few of us were surprised when the results came in. It wasn't a few people who don't like Adani. We found, after interviewing a statistically valid sample of around 250 residents, that:
- 77.2% opposed the NAIF loan for Adani
- 86.2% opposed unlimited water licences for Adani
- 85.4% opposed a royalties holiday for Adani
Another number that came out of the survey was in response to the question “Do you support or oppose new coal mines in Qld?” You would think that in a 'coal town' the number who support new coal mines would be high but we found that only 41.2% support new mines opening. Public opinion up here is not as clear cut as people in Canberra think.
Boomerang Bags works to reduce the use of plastic bags by engaging local communities in the making of Boomerang Bags – community made, using recycled materials. Boomerang Bags provide a free, fun, sustainable alternative to plastic bags.
By getting involved, you are participating in a global movement, celebrating a grassroots initiative focusing on community building and sustainability.
Sign up here: mackayconservationgroup.org.au/boomerang_bags_signup
Women are the leaders of the environmental movement worldwide. Today we're celebrating International Women's Day and the role that women take in the politics, research and organising that is at the core of our movement.
These are a few of the women who have contributed to our success over the past 30+ years. Thankyou for all your efforts.
Mackay Conservation Group member Simon Gedda has been living on a grazing property south of Mackay all his life. Over the years his methods of managing the land have changed including his relationship with dingos. Here's his story...
What I see on our land...
We used to saturate our property with baits until I witnessed the harrowing and cruel death of some of my own dogs from 1080. I decided then that it was too risky for our dogs sake and stopped baiting to see what would happen. Well that was 25 years ago and I haven't baited since. It wasn't until about 10 years ago that I started to realise the importance of the dingo as an important predator in keeping kangaroos, wallabies, rabbits and pigs in check. Also, feral cats do not like hanging around dingo territory. I have seen dingoes chasing wild pigs through mobs of cattle and picking off the piglets one by one.
I have observed dingoes mingling with unconcerned cows and calves around dams — week after week when all the natural waters have dried up — and came to the conclusion that if the cows aren't worried about them, then “why should I?”. We do have the odd one killed and a few bitten but in the whole scale of our operation it is minuscule and does not warrant retaliation .
I feel the reason we don't have an issue with losses is that we are better at keeping the cows in good order so they can feed their calves properly so they are not an easy target, and also the cow has a better chance of protecting them. In fact we lose less calves and have fewer bitten now (some years none) than when we use to bait. I consider this to be a management issue.
I have had a few of my own dogs killed because they wandered away from the safety of the homestead complex but that is my responsibility to make sure they are safe.
Dingoes actually have their own predators, that being Wedgetail Eagles and Carpet snakes when they are vulnerable in the first few weeks of their lives.
I see dingoes on our property, mainly reds with a few black and tans and to tell you the truth I have never seen a "wild dog". I have a respect for them as a major predator, and my fear would be to see the balance shift to the point where I wake up one day and see 50,000 kangaroos eating all our grass, as I witnessed on a property in Western QLD a few years ago.
If you would like to read more stories like this one, please subscribe to our mailing list
If you have a few hours to spare on a regular basis then we have some tasks that you may like to help with. If you are interested in any of these projects, please email [email protected]
Hours per week
|Catalogue Library||Our library of hundreds of books and reports on local and global environmental issues is currently out of action. We need someone to input the book titles into an online database so that people working on campaigns and projects can find materials.||1 to 8||Ongoing|
|Build storage shelves||We have recently had a major clean-up at the Environment Centre and have reduced a lot of clutter but we still don't have enough storage for posters, campaign materials and files. If you have some carpentry skills and would like to help us build a new set of shelving then we'd love to hear from you.||Variable||One off|
|Media Monitoring||We have a great volunteer who reads the Daily Mercury each day and selects the environmental stories for us. We need someone to go through all the collected stories and put them in a database so we can easily retrieve them in the future.||1 to 3||Ongoing|
|Paper Shredding||Our old financial records and other out of date files were taking up a lot of room at the Environment Centre. We have a paper shredder but we need someone to feed it. An easy job that could be combined with something else.||10||2|
|EcoPress Editor||If you have a talent for writing and would like to put together our monthly newsletter then this is a very enjoyable and rewarding job. Most of the content is prepared by the staff. Your role would be to ensure that all the content that we want people to read is included and that the newsletter is published on time.||2||Ongoing|
|Membership manager||Over the years we have lost touch with some of our members for one reason or another. We'd like a volunteer to make contact with former members and invite them to rejoin MCG. If you are really keen then you could also assist us to improve our membership flyer and ensure it is distributed widely.||1||20|
|Artist||The front room of the Environment Centre is now our meeting room. It would be great to have a mural painted on at least one wall depicting the marine environment. If you have the skills to undertake a task like this then please let us know.||Variable||One off|
|Gardening||We need someone to select some suitable species of small plants for the garden at the back of the environment centre then ensure they are planted and maintained until they are self sufficient. We're looking for bird and/or butterfly attractors from the local area.||10||One off|
|Boomerang Bags Coordinator||The current coordinator of Boomerang Bags Mackay has had to take a break so we're looking for someone to take over this very worthwhile community project.||3||Ongoing|
|Development monitor||A key role for Mackay Conservation Group is to respond to development applications. While most applications that come to council are minor, there are some big ones that we should be taking an interest in. We need someone to monitor the council websites for development notifications.||1||Ongoing|
|Planner||If you have planning qualifications then you could assist us to respond to Development Applications by identifying the planning issues that council must consider when assessing a proposal.||Variable||Ad hoc|
Help Us Expose Environmental Damage
Gathering evidence of the damage caused to our local environment can be difficult at times but has been vastly enhanced by drone technology. Over the past couple of years Mackay Conservation Group has cooperated with Lock the Gate and the World Wildlife Fund to obtain drone footage of the impacts of mining and excessive land clearing.
However, we haven't had access to a drone for our own work aimed at protecting Great Barrier Reef islands from inappropriate development, exposing poor performance in forestry operations and highlighting the impact of bad land management on our waterways. Using aircraft can be an expensive alternative. Last year it cost us over $700 to obtain aerial images of Lindeman Island.
We want to be able to gather visual images that clearly illustrate the damage being done to our environment but we need some help. A quality drone plus the software and other equipment we need to run it will cost around $4000.
If you can donate a few dollars towards the purchase of a drone for MCG then we can do more to protect the our land and water. Please donate today.
It would be wonderful to think that this year would be a quiet one for Mackay Conservation Group with nobody wanting to engage in environmentally damaging development, mining companies recognising that they are morally obliged to rehabilitate the land and that governments took strong action to slow climate change. We can only hope!
So until that happens, we have planned a busy year and we'd really love you to be part of it. Join us and become a part of Mackay Conservation Group.
The Adani mine has been a major focus for MCG members for the past five years. We have worked with other organisations around Queensland and Australia to block the project. The Stop Adani movement has cut off Adani's finance sources, we have challenged their approvals and we haven't gone away. The community has moved and across Australia and here in Mackay there is overwhelming opposition to Adani. This week in the Daily Mercury we saw that mainstream farmers don't want the mine to proceed and do want more renewable energy. “We don’t need Adani. More solar, more wind” said Randall Ford (centre) and Gordon Galletly (left) is concerned about Adani's unlimited access to water which is already in limited supply.
Adani isn't finished yet but this year will be the turning point. Townsville Mayor has set August 8 as the deadline for Adani to commence work at their mine site or the council will withdraw support. She's obviously feeling the pressure from her community. Labor hasn't made its position on Adani clear yet but we will keep working on them and the more sensible members of the Coalition to say no to the mine.Read more
Urannah dam has created many jobs over the years but only in the economics and engineering community. Over the past 50 years 18 studies have been undertaken into the feasibility of the dam by both government and non-government organisations. They have all concluded the same thing, the dam doesn't stack up. So we were surprised when the Federal Government floated the idea it would fund another $3 million feasibility study into the dam.
That feasibility study appears to be going nowhere. Media reports late last year indicate that the consortium that has been awarded the funding is wracked with infighting over how the money would be allocated so no work has been done. The Queensland Government has proposed that the money should be allocated to Sunwater. But when Sunwater last investigated Urannah dam it found the dam to be uneconomic.
The proposed Urannah Dam is located within the Bowen and Broken River catchments, 95km north-east of Mackay adjacent to Eungella National Park. If it went ahead it would be built on land that is currently leased by the Queensland Government to the Urannah Properties Association. It is subject to a native title claim registered by the Widi people in 2006, which covers an area of approximately 5,400 square kilometres. The dam site contains important initiation grounds among other cultural heritage values. The Widi people continue to campaign strongly to retain their native title rights over the land.
Constructing Urannah Dam has been estimated to cost between $250 and $300 million. In 2016 Mackay Conservation Group engaged an engineer, Thomas Williams, to undertake a Cost Benefit Analysis (CBA) of Urannah Dam. He determined that the dam would be uneconomic as it would return only $0.75 for every $1.00 invested. He found that there are cheaper ways to provide water for industrial purposes in the Galilee and Bowen Basins.Read more