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.
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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@example.com
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
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?