Mackay Conservation Group community organiser, Maggie Mckeown, recently made a presentation to Mackay Regional Council about the impacts of climate change on the region. Here's what she said.
Mackay city is a low lying coastal city in an part of the world that is frequently threatened by tropical cyclones. Last year the city dodged a bullet when Cyclone Debbie changed course and did not arrive in Mackay. We know that there was an unprecedented level of preparation for the cyclone but all that would have been completely insufficient had Debbie made landfall in Mackay simultaneous with a 5.8 metre tide. Most of the urban area would have been inundated and potentially significant numbers of casualties. We have seen two very large cyclones in Northern Queensland over the past decade, Yasi and Debbie. Predictions are that cyclones will become larger and more destructive as ocean temperatures rise due to global warming. The cost of dealing with major climate related events is significant both locally and globally. Cyclone Debbie cost insurers $1.56 billion by November. That will undoubtedly lead to increased insurance premiums and increased difficulty in obtaining insurance for those in cyclone prone zones. The cost to the Queensland economy has been estimated at over $2 billion with mining, agriculture and tourism industries were severely disrupted by the cyclone.
The Mackay region is not alone in facing climate induced catastrophes. Right now we are witnessing Cape Town in South Africa, a city with a population of 3.7 million about to run out of water, the first city that magnitude to do so. The water supply failure has been blamed on poor city management but without three years of unprecedented drought the city would not be facing a crisis. Closer to home, Pacific Islanders in places such as Kiribati have seen sea level rise make parts of their island nation uninhabitable. Sixteen percent of the land area of India is dependent on glacial fed Himalayan streams. Those glaciers that maintain stream flows during summer and winter are melting. Initially that means more rapid flows and floods but in the long term it means drought and chronic food and water shortages. All these events and many more are inevitable consequences of a hotter climate which in turn is brought about by human burning of fossil fuels.Read more
Last week we premiered the brand new #StopAdani documentary A Mighty Force. With a combined membership of around two million people, the movement to stop Adani's unbankable mine will continue to grow and shift the politics on coal.
At the Mackay premiere of the Stop Adani documentary, A Mighty Force, local cane grower Michelle Ready explained to locals why she is so passionate about stopping Adani's mega-mine.
My name’s Michelle and I’m a farmer’s wife. I’m not an expert by any means, but I’ve taken time to do the research and have spoken with many, better informed people, including farmers who are at the coal face, so to speak. The farm we’re on has been in my husband’s family around 60 years, and we wouldn’t be there if it wasn’t for the groundwater. It provides all our domestic needs. On the farming side however, we’re lucky to have limited access to the creek, when the rains fail to come.
But there are farmers who aren’t as lucky as us, whose only reliable source is groundwater from the Galilee Basin, part of the Great Artesian Basin. Out there, at the Carmichael mine site, groundwater is everything, and it absolutely defies belief that our elected officials have decided to give it away, free and unlimited amounts of it, to a company with the most atrocious history of environmental degradation.
Coal mines require enormous amounts of water. I remember years ago hearing that wars would be fought over water, and I thought at the time, “no way there’s so much water, what’s the problem”. I was wrong. Farmers are the first to feel the effects of drought, and climate change, yet eventually everyone will. Look at Cape Town. Broken Hill.Read more
#StopAdani: A Mighty Force reveals an unstoppable movement for change in action.
This 30-minute documentary captures the power and passion of people taking extraordinary action to stop Adani from building one of the biggest coal mines in the world, on the doorstep of the Great Barrier Reef.
From remote central Queensland where the mine is proposed to be built, to rallies in metropolitan Melbourne and Sydney, this David and Goliath battle is one of the most determined and focused campaigns in Australia’s recent history.
Come and find out why so many people all over Australia, and right here in Mackay, are speaking out against Adani's unbankable mine!
Guest speaker and Mackay Cane Grower, Michelle Ready, features in the film and works to raise awareness of the importance of stopping Adani from draining precious water resources.
The film launches with the People’s Premiere in communities across Australia on Thursday 22 February - don't miss out on this huge local premiere!
- WHEN: Thursday 22nd Feb - 6:30pm
- WHERE: Mackay City Cinema, Gordon St Mackay.
- COST: $10 - including entry and a complimentary drink or pay at the door for $15 (cash only).
- Book your ticket now.
MEDIA RELEASE - 2 February 2018
Adani falsifies Abbot Point wetlands pollution lab results
Revelations Adani corrupted pollution evidence as part of $12K fine appeal
Stop Adani Alliance poll shows 3/4 of Qlders think Adani should drop its appeal and pay fine
On International Wetlands Day, findings uncovered by the Queensland Environment Department that Adani doctored laboratory reports of coal-laden polluted water spilt during Cyclone Debbie from Abbot Point Port shows yet again why governments should block Adani’s project, says the Stop Adani Alliance (Guardian Australia today: “Suspicions Adani altered lab report while appealing fine for Abbot Point coal spill”).
As part of court proceedings by Adani challenging the $12,900 fine imposed by the Environment Department for polluting Abbot Point during Cyclone Debbie, it has been revealed that the company falsified laboratory reports by leaving off results submitted earlier.
Mackay Conservation Group coordinator, Peter McCallum, who visited Abbot Point with department officials in April 2017 to inspect the pollution said, “If Opposition Leader Bill Shorten is looking for one more reason why the Adani mine does not stack up then here it is.”
Adani Group companies have a well-documented record of environmental destruction and prosecutions overseas, including illegal dealings, bribery, environmental and social devastation and allegations of corruption, fraud and money laundering.
“On International Wetlands Day this shows once again why Adani can’t be trusted with the sensitive Caley Valley Wetlands, our precious natural environment, or our Reef. These new revelations show they also can’t be trusted with scientific evidence.
“Queenslanders are understandably concerned that Adani is even challenging this puny fine. A Stop Adani Alliance ReachTEL poll of residents across Queensland, conducted in October 2017, found three quarters thought that Adani should drop the court action and pay the fine”.
The ReachTel poll of 1,652 Qld residents conducted on the night of 24th October 2017 is below. (Full poll can be provided on request.)
Adani admitted to the Queensland Department of Environment that it released more than eight times its licensed concentration of pollution in March 2017.
For further information and interviews: Peter McCallum 0402 966 560
Mackay Conservation Group, a member of the Stop Adani Alliance, is a volunteer based organisation established in 1983 that works to protect Central Queensland’s environment www.mackayconservationgroup.org.au
ReachTel Poll Question:
Adani has been fined $12,900 by the Queensland Department of the Environment for polluting the Reef coast with coal during Cyclone Debbie from the Abbot Point Port terminal it operates. Adani is now contesting the fine in court.
Should Adani drop the court action and pay the fine?
#StopAdani is undeniably a hugely powerful movement.
At the end of 2017, the wins were coming thick and fast;
- The Queensland Labor government retained power, with huge influence coming from the promise of vetoing the $1billion taxpayer loan to Adani.
- They held their promise and blocked the loan.
- Four Chinese banks, some of the biggest banks in the world, plus the Chinese embassy, refused to support Adani.
- Downer, who was contracted to build Adani's mine, walked away.
All of these wins happened because our movement has grown so strong.
But - it's not over yet.
Adani is looking down the barrel of a huge stranded asset, so will do everything it can to push the Carmichael mine ahead.
The mine proposal is Adani's best chance of replacing its current coal-handling contracts, which are set to finish up in the next five years. Without ongoing contracts, Adani's Abbot Point coal port will be in real trouble.
There is also the possibility of Aurizon building an alternative rail line that could service the Carmichael mine and the rest of the Galilee Basin.
Adani is not done yet - and neither are we.
Already this year we have seen the price of renewable energy in India become cheaper than coal-powered energy, with minsters and leaders in India committing to rapidly reducing use of coal-power.
India was set to start the next coal boom - and instead we're seeing the country emerge as a renewable energy powerhouse.
With the vast majority of countries signing onto the Paris Agreement, we're seeing the fossil fuel industry declining. In the near future, there will be no market for the thermal coal that Adani so desperately wants, and Australia will have to deal with the mess left behind.
Mackay suffers when it puts all of its eggs in one [mining] industry's basket. Time and time again we hear pleas from the community for a diversification of our region's economy, so that we rely on highly fluctuating industries. Coal is coming to an end - and Adani is not the answer for Mackay.
That's why this year it is so important that we continue to grow and strengthen our movement.
Let's work together to strengthen regional Queensland for generations to come.
We can't stop (and we won't stop) until we #StopAdani forever.
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.
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.Read more
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.Read more
Lindeman 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
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
Friday 27th Oct - 5pm Mojos rooftop bar - 2 Sydney St Mackay
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).
See you there!
State 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.
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.
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.Read more