One of the reasons for the success of Mackay Conservation Group over more than three decades is that we have had talented and stable leadership. For the past 27 years Dr Michael Williams, has been MCG's president while maintaining a busy schedule as a paediatrician. He has led the group though many campaigns, offering rational advice and clarity to our organisation. He will continue playing a part in the group as a member of our management committee and as an advocate for environmental protection.
Michael joined the group back in the 1980s when we offered support to the campaign to prevent a road being bulldozed through the Daintree rainforests in Far North Queensland. At the time the conservative Bjelke-Petersen government was busily ramping up its coastal development agenda with over 30 marina proposals, including one that would have demolished the Slade Point sand dunes and melaleuca forests. MCG worked successfully with a range of other groups to have the Slade Point dunes and wetlands protected.
Another development planned for the city was a canal estate in East Mackay called the Mouth of the River. What is now the Sandfly Creek Environmental Reserve was partly bulldozed and used by the then premier to launch the 1986 election campaign. It didn't stop there, two-thirds of Lindeman Island National Park was earmarked for privatisation in a deal that would have benefited a friend of the premier. Over the past 27 years there have been many major and minor campaigns in which the group has been the leading local voice for the environment. We have been advocates for the protection of East Point from a housing development, questioned the value of Teemburra Dam, opposed the destruction of wetlands for the East West Connector Road, led the campaign against the Goorganga Plains shale oil proposal, worked to stop rainforest logging at Eungella and so much more. It hasn't all been about Adani. In all of those, Michael has had a significant role.
Since becoming president in 1991, Michael oversaw the growth of Mackay Conservation Group. He was instrumental in our quest to obtain a permanent home at the Environment Centre in Wood Street. He chaired hundreds of meetings, championed our causes in the media and donated significant funds to keep the group afloat. Michael's position as a leading player in the health system also enabled the group to reach
While other committee members, staff and volunteers have come and gone, Michael has remained a rock of stability. He has been hands off in many ways, recognising the talents and abilities of community members and staff and supported them in taking a leading role in organising the campaigns and research activities the group has undertaken. We are all very fortunate to have such a tireless environmental advocate in our organisation.