Media Release: Beating Air Pollution Critical for World Environment Day

04 June 2019

Tackling air pollution is the theme for United Nations World Environment Day on June 5. Air pollution affects nine out of ten people worldwide and causes seven million premature deaths annually.

The major sources of air pollution are transport, energy generation and agriculture, especially methane from livestock. The burning of waste in open air and build up of organic waste in landfills also contributes to the issue.

Mackay Conservation Group campaigner, Emma Barrett, says that air pollution is a solvable issue.

“When we take actions to tackle air pollutants we see almost immediate improvements in air quality.

“Mackay is in a great position, we still have good air quality and we can start planning for our region to maintain it. That way we will avoid the serious health effects of air pollutants that are affecting other communities.

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Beautiful day at local Town Beach

Over 30 people enjoyed a fun and social afternoon stroll along Town Beach for our Beautiful Walk in May. Clear skies, warm weather and the low tide proved the perfect mix for the group to learn more about Mackay's iconic beach!

Joined by three guest speakers, the attendees were given a special insight into the natural value of the area. Patricia Julien spoke about the geographical history that has completely reshaped Town Beach. Cyclones, coastal processes and development have transformed the shoreline to something different over only a few decades.

Mackay & Districts Turtle Watch Association spokesperson, Fay Griffin, explained the significance of our region for sea turtles. While Town Beach isn't a major nesting site, Mackay's coastline is dotted with areas used frequently by nesting turtles. All species of sea turtles are considered to be endangered or vulnerable, making our local shores an incredibly important area in the conservation of these wonderful animals.

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Media Release: Queensland Government Signs Death Warrant for Black Throated Finch Rather Than Stand Up to Adani

The Mackay Conservation Group has condemned the Queensland Government’s fast-track approval of Adani’s controversial Black Throated Finch management plan that will sign the death warrant for the endangered bird and ignores the company’s poor record in breaching environmental laws.

Mackay Conservation Group community organiser, Michael Kane, said the decision was politically motivated and the approval process had been rushed, manifestly inadequate and compromised.

“With the decision today, Australians now have a front row seat to the real time extinction of the endangered Black Throated Finch due to political expediency and a lack of leadership” he said.

“The truth is once Adani bulldozes the tiny finch’s last viable habitat, the birds will literally starve to death in great numbers. This is an extinction that we can stop today. There is still time for the Premier to walk back this process.

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Mackay council's free native plant giveaway

Yes, you read right - Mackay Regional Council is giving away free native plants! The first free giveaway is at the Mackay Regional Botanic Gardens this Saturday, June 1 from 9am - 2pm.

It's all part of a new program aimed at increasing the number of native plants in local gardens. Ratepayers can choose four native plants each year to take home and add to their backyards.

Native plants can provide habitat and food for local wildlife, need less water than exotic plants and survive easily in our warm, tropical climate.

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Help bring the new Sea Shepherd film to Mackay!

Book your ticket before midday on Tuesday 4th June to help bring the new Sea Shepherd film to Mackay! If enough tickets are pre-booked, 'Defend, Conserve, Protect' will screen on Wed, June 12 6:30pm at BCC Cinemas, Mackay City.

This powerful documentary is screening in regional and city locations ahead of World Oceans Day on June 8th. 

Filmed in the world's only international Whale Sanctuary of Antarctica, 'Defend, Conserve, Protect' follows the Sea Shepherd crew in their fight to protect endangered Minke whales from the Japanese whaling fleet. Narrated by Ghostbusters star, Dan Aykroyd, it's an inspiring call to stand up for what you believe in.

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Irwin's turtle. Will we lose this shy Australian before we even get to know it?

Photo supplied by Jeff Tan

For those who may have missed it Thursday 22 May was world turtle day, a special day to celebrate and raise awareness of these iconic creatures.  

Here in Central Queensland we have a wealth of sea and freshwater turtles including the unique Irwin’s Turtle (Elseya irwini). Irwin’s turtle was unknown to science until 1990 when it was discovered by renowned conservationists Bob and Steve Irwin.

Irwin’s Turtle is a fresh water turtle found only in the Broken-Bowen River system in central Queensland and has an estimated range of only 25km. Very little is known about Irwin’s turtle and there may be as few as 5000 individuals.Population studies of Irwin’s turtle have found that juvenile turtles, particularly young males, are under-represented.  These kind of population imbalances are concerning and may be caused by increased predation, making the species especially vulnerable to population shocks, habitat destruction and climate change.

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Media Release: Mackay Locals Plan Afresh To Stop Adani To Manage Climate Risks

Mackay, Queensland. It was clear from the dozens of people who gathered in Mackay over the weekend, to discuss the next steps in the campaign to stop the Adani mine, that locals have a significant appetite for working to prevent enormous coal mines being dug in the Galilee Basin and avert dangerous climate change.

About 40 residents met in East Mackay on Sunday to discuss the next steps in the local Stop Adani campaign following the apparent change in the Queensland Government’s position on assessing the project scientifically.  

Mackay Conservation Group coordinator, Peter McCallum, said “People are increasingly worried about climate change given the extreme weather they’ve seen hit Queensland in recent times. They’ve also heard the dire predictions that the world’s leading scientists have been sharing with governments and the public for decades.

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Palaszczuk must stick with science in the face of political bullying

Media Release

22 May 2019

Palaszczuk must stick with science in the face of political bullying

The Queensland Premier has announced that the Adani mine assessment process will be fast-tracked and that a timeline for approval of the mine will be made public by Friday.

Peter McCallum, coordinator of Mackay Conservation Group, said “This decision follows intense political pressure from the mining industry and the Murdoch press. It is a kick in the guts for all those Queenslanders who were counting on the Palaszczuk Government to make sound scientific decisions on environmental issues.

“Today the Premier has said that she wants the scientific assessment process cut short. There can be only one reason for that, the pressure put on her government by a highly-orchestrated campaign by the mining industry and the Murdoch press.

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Adani CEO misrepresents environment and worker practices

 

Media Release - 20 May 2019

AUSTRALIAN CEO MISREPRESENTS ADANI’S ENVIRONMENTAL RECORD AND OVERLOOKS POOR WORKER PRACTICES

Adani CEO Lucas Dow has made misleading statements today suggesting Adani has been working to the ‘highest environmental standards’ (see text of Morning Bulletin story below) when the record shows they have repeatedly breached Queensland laws, says Mackay Conservation Group today (MCG).

Dow says he can’t understand why the Carmichael coal mine should be held up when it can be delivered “in a manner that is both commercially and environmentally responsible”.

However, Adani’s track record shows a lack of compliance with environmental protections and poor corporate behaviour, including:

  • being currently in court for pollution from its Abbot Point port terminal. Adani breached a pollution licence by 800%, discharging coal-polluted water from the coal terminal into the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area;
  • being under investigation at a state level for alleged unlawful drilling and clearing activities at the proposed mine site; and
  • having to pay a $13,000 fine for polluting wetlands.

MCG spokesperson Michael Kane said, “Adani has shown themselves to be poor corporate citizens who can’t be trusted to do the right thing by Queensland’s environment.

“Adani has a history of breaching Queensland laws even before the project has officially been approved, including being fined for polluting wetlands and discharging coal-pollution into the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area,” he said.

“Queensland has laws to protect our water, but Adani clearly doesn’t play by the rules. How can we trust them to look after Queensland’s water?”

“Queenslanders do not appreciate big mining companies risking their precious water resources. Research shows the majority of people in central Queensland are concerned about Adani's impact on ground and river water”.

Mr Kane says it’s disingenuous for Lucas Dow to say he speaks for people in Central Queensland communities reliant on mining, when his record shows he has been responsible for sacking miners and instituting fly in fly out workforces in the recent past.

When Dow was CEO and asset president of BHP Mitsubishi Alliance the company:

  • sacked 700 mine workers in the Bowen Basin;
  • slashed 230 jobs at Saraji mine in Central Qld;
  • had a 100% Fly In Fly out workforce at the Caval Ridge mine, overlooking local employment.

“If Mr Dow expects us to trade off our environment and iconic places then it is time he answered some hard questions on the promises he is making. How automated will this mine be and how many existing coal jobs in the Bowen Basin will we lose?” Mr Kane said.

“When Dow was in charge at BMA they sacked more mine workers than are predicted to be employed at Adani’s Carmichael coal mine.

“Under Dow, BMA cut jobs at several mine sites across central Queensland and opted for a fly-in, fly-out workforce over local employment.

“It’s no surprise you won’t find Mr Dow talking about the tens of thousands of reef-related tourism and agricultural jobs at risk from Adani’s coal mine,” he said.

 

Michael Kane is available for interview.


Media contact: 0438 766 230



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Fresh FOI docs reveal CSIRO concerns about Adani ignored

Media Release

14 May 2019

Commenting on new CSIRO emails released today by the ABC, showing the agency was pressured by the Coalition government to approve Adani's controversial water plan within a number of hours, despite holding outstanding concerns, underline why Minister Price’s controversial decision should be reviewed, said Mackay Conservation Group today (“Adani water plan ticked off within hours despite lack of detail, internal CSIRO emails reveal”, ABC today).

Peter McCallum, Mackay co-ordinator of the Defend our Water Campaign - Not One Drop for Adani said, “It’s clear from these new CSIRO emails, released under right to information laws, that the agency responsible for properly scrutinising Adani’s groundwater plans was under a lot of pressure to tick off on the plans before the election was called.

The ABC reports the CSIRO was asked to provide a letter of advice, on which Minister Price could rely, merely on the basis of a verbal briefing and a short summary document provided that day.

“Adani CEO Mr Lucas Dow calls the CSIRO and GeoScience Australia ‘two of the most preeminent science organisations in Australia’. Knowing they had outstanding concerns about Adani’s groundwater plan are cause for all Australians to be concerned about the risks posed to our precious water supplies by Adani’s mine.

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