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 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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Sep 20 - Mackay Global Climate Strike

School strikers around the globe are calling on EVERYONE to join them for the SEP 20 - Global Climate Strike!

Mackay high-school students, School Strike 4 Climate and Mackay Conservation Group have been working hard to make this the biggest and loudest school strike yet!

WHERE: Jubilee Park, Mackay (corner of Wellington St and Alfred St)

WHEN: Friday, September 20th 2019

TIME: 12pm - 1:30pm

BRING: Banners, signs, instruments and voices!

Click here to RSVP and for more information

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Great Barrier Reef Forum 1st October 2019

~ WATER QUALITY AND THE GREAT BARRIER REEF FORUM ~

Learn about the opportunities we have to alleviate the Reef from one of its leading pressures.


With talks from a diverse array of experts in the field, including: Jon Brodie (scientist), Katrina Dent (Reef Catchments), Simon Mattsson (cane farmer), Hon. Leeanne Enoch (QLD Environment Minister).

 

WHEN: 1ST OCTOBER, 2019
TIME: 7:00 - 8:30PM
WHERE: THE MACKAY ENTERTAINMENT CONVENTION CENTRE 258 Alfred St, Mackay QLD 4740

 

Click here to RSVP and for more information.

 

Turtle photo credit: The Ocean Agency / XL Catlin Seaview Survey / Richard Vevers. 

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Effects of climate change all to real

Friday on my mind 12.09.2019

This week the effects of climate change became all too real for many people living in
southern Queensland. Unprecedented fires continue to burn through prime agricultural
areas near Stanthorpe and Applethorpe after a hell week for residents and firefighters.
Sadly, the iconic Binnaburra Lodge was burnt down as uncontrolled fires swept through
the Gold Coast hinterland. News has been slow to filter through about the fire’s impact
on some of the largest subtropical rainforests in the world that make the Gold Coast
hinterland an international biodiversity and tourist hotspot.
Reinforcing the dire and unprecedented nature of these events, the Queensland and
Fire Emergency Services predictive services inspector, Andrew Sturgess warned us
that that fire danger has never been as severe so early in spring.

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Mackay Locals Concerned about Adani's Financial Situation

Media Release

2 September 2019

Mackay locals concerned about Adani’s financial situation.

 New reports analysing Adani Mining’s financial situation have some Mackay locals concerned.

“Adani has shown it can’t be trusted with the environment. Now Mackay locals are also very concerned that Adani may not be able to pay their bills to contractors.” Said Sunny Hungerford , a spokesperson from Mackay Conservation Group

 “The new Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA) reports outline Adani’s perilous financial situation and notes that Adani Mining already appears insolvent. We are worried that Adani will cause a lot of damage to our environment in the process of building a project which may collapse. The Adani Carmichael coal mine looks like it will be  leaving financial and environmental chaos in its wake.” 

 One concerned member of the Mackay community, Stephen Bulloch, who has now retired from the coal industry, commented on the subject.  “Adani’s financial situation doesn’t look good, I personally would not take the gamble of working with Adani, it’d be backing the wrong horse”

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