Vale Rory McCourt

Rory McCourt, in his 70s, died on Sunday 10th May following a dreadful illness. He fought hard for the environment of the Whitsundays. Rory also advocated on wider environmental issues.

He lived at Shute Harbour, having moved from Sydney after a successful creative career around 20 years ago. He was a leading figure amongst those concerned about Airlie Beach and the Whitsundays, especially as a key person on the management committee in the local group Save Our Foreshore (SOF) formed in October 2004. 

SOF fought the proposed hotel development on Airlie’s foreshore, with Rory also playing a leading role campaigning against other inappropriate developments including the proposed Shute Harbour Marina development, which is still active.  He established links with Mackay Conservation Group and others beyond the Whitsundays.  

Rory had a calm, warm and gentle nature offering an intelligence and humour. It was always good to listen to his thoughts over dinner, or when talking with others providing a careful, thoughtful but persistent advocacy. He would not be ruffled in a heated discussion.

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We can't count on coal to dig us out of an economic hole

This week the Queensland Resources Council released a wish-list of mining projects it wants fast-tracked by our government, including six coal mines in the Galilee Basin and several in the Bowen and Surat Basins. Most of those mines are still undergoing federal and state assessment processes, including developing Environmental Impact Statements. Others have not been able to obtain finance. A High Court challenge by farmers over threats to water supply stands in the way of another.

Thermal coal (the type that produces electricity) has suffered from declining prices for nearly two years. It was selling for US$120 per tonne in July 2018 but by April this year it was less than half that price. According to respected industry analyst, Rory Simington of Wood Mackenzie, 30 per cent of Australia’s thermal coal mines are currently unprofitable due to low prices. 

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How politicians walked away from science for Adani

A recent report published in Nature Sustainability provides a thorough examination of the approval process for Adani’s underground water licence. The authors are some of Australia's leading water experts. They examine the evidence from all parties and show that there is still significant uncertainty about the water source of the ancient Doongmabulla Springs and 150 associated wetlands.

The assessment process was political from the start. The federal environment minister's approval came just hours before the government went into caretaker mode for the 2019 election. At the time, the Queensland environment minister commented that the decision "reeks of political interference". The federal minister had come under intense pressure from within the government to approve the water plan even though it wasn't complete. Mackay Conservation Group's concern was that the pre-election federal sign off on the water license was a rushed decision that didn't permit a full examination of the scientific evidence.

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What happens when you ask a marsupial to improve your life?

After finding some gliders living in a nesting box at his place, Tom Curtis recently pondered whether they had a better life than him. He wondered whether life would be calmer as a possum, without all the worries that Covid-19 and other crazy world events have brought. In response he received a letter from a marsupial living in the big Moreton Bay Ash in his garden. 

Dear Tom,
Thank you for your letter asking to become a glider and live in our tree. This raises a couple of points. Firstly, we don't have any magical powers to turn people into small and incredibly-cute marsupials. If you therefore remain at 65kg, with no gliding membranes between your arms and legs, we think you will struggle to survive launching yourself into space from a 30ft Moreton Bay Ash.

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EcoPress November 2018

How Will We Stop Adani Opening Its Mega-Mine?

The world is facing a climate crisis and the next Australian federal election is a crucial moment that will decide the world's future. We're asking you to volunteer a couple of hours of your time to help our campaign to change Australia's and the Earth's future.

Two weeks ago we heard from the world's leading climatologists, the IPCC, that the world must stop burning coal by 2050 if we have any chance of maintaining a livable climate into the future. Every week Australia emits about 5 cubic kilometres of carbon-dioxide (CO2) into the atmosphere. That makes global air temperature hotter, rainfall less predictable, more intense cyclones and bleaches the Great Barrier Reef. It also presents a real challenge to future Australians when they try to reduce the CO2 concentration of the atmosphere.

Imagine trying to find 5 cubic kilometres of safe and secure underground storage, that's a pretty big job. Then multiply that by 30 years worth of CO2. About 7,500 cubic kilometres of storage must be found to secure the gas that will be emitted between now and 2050. If we start reducing our carbon-dioxide emissions today the future problem becomes much more achievable.

This week Adani announced it is close to financing its DSC_1297.jpgdisastrous mega-mine near Clermont west of Mackay with the aim of commencing construction early in 2019. The Carmichael Mine will operate for 60 years and produce up to 60 million tonnes of coal every year. It must never be opened so it's time for us to ramp up our campaign. 

Australia has a choice to make about whether we make the shift to renewable energy or continue to mine coal and destroy the Great Barrier Reef, putting all forms of life at risk. The federal election in May 2019 will be crucial in that decision but right now, neither major party has a policy to rule out new coal projects.

Even though most people in Australia oppose Adani's mine, politicians believe they can cruise to the next federal election without making a commitment to stop it. It's time they started to feel the heat of our campaign and make clear policies to Stop Adani and urgently reorganise our energy system to make life safe for everyone. 

We're asking you to make a commitment to lend a few hours to support our campaign. No matter where you live you can help. Over the next few months we'll be knocking on doors in Mackay and other parts of Central Queensland to find out what people think about Adani and climate change and let them know how they can help. We'll be writing letters to politicians of all persuasions. We'll be making phone calls. We'll have stalls at markets. We'll be surveying community opinion. That's just for starters. So please sign our volunteer pledge and let us know that you want to join this campaign.

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EcoPress October 2018

October 2018

Stop Adani Meeting
Thursday 11 Oct 5.30pm
Volunteers Meeting
Tuesday 16 Oct 6.30pm
Beautiful Walk
Sunday 21 Oct 8.30am
Our next Stop Adani meeting will be on Thursday 11 October. We'll be celebrating the success of our recent doorknock and planning new activities for the upcoming crucial weeks in our campaign to keep coal in the ground.

The Environment Centre, 156 Wood St Mackay

Peter Rosier will present a talk on the Tragedy of the Commons. Some people are permitted to treat the environment as a dumping ground for the wastes of our industrial society, the worse things are for us all. Afterwards we'll hear about the current situation with Great Barrier Reef water quality and government responses.

The Environment Centre, 156 Wood St Mackay



Emma Barrett has another fantastic treat in store for us in less than two weeks. This month we're visiting the shorebirds that have migrated all the way from Siberia to overwinter on Mackay's sunny beaches. This annual migration is a very special part of living in Mackay so come along to our Beautiful Walk and learn about our precious wildlife.

The Environment Centre, 156 Wood St Mackay

Shorebirds & waders at Shellgrit Creek

The waders are almost back on Mackay's shores and we're going to welcome them in true MCG fashion with a Beautiful Walk! Each year, these little shorebirds travel long distances between Australia and the northern hemisphere, chasing the warmer weather. Some waders fly from countries as far away as Japan, China, Siberia and Alaska. After their arduous journey to Mackay, the waders spend the next 6 months resting and feeding on our coasts. We're excited to welcome the new arrivals and would love you to join us!

Guest speakers from Birdlife Mackay will be on hand to identify bird species and tell us more about their behaviour and ecology. It's a great opportunity to get outdoors and discover the nature at our doorstep with other like-minded people.
Please wear enclosed shoes and appropriate clothing. Don't forget your water bottle, sunscreen, hat and binoculars!

RSVP your place today, we will book out soon. 



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EcoPress October 2017


Lindeman136_small.jpgLindeman 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

Tania_Revel.jpgBook your free ticket here

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

Ruchira-Talukdar-ACF-campaigner.jpgRuchira Talukdar is a climate activist from India who has been working on the Adani campaign for many years with Greenpeace and the Australian Conservation Foundation.
Ruchira is currently a doctoral candidate investigating coal and climate campaigns in India and Australia. This Thursday she will be presenting her work and experiences to Mackay Conservation Group members. 
This will be a great opportunity to gain insight into Adani's conduct overseas and the stories of the India communities affected. Come along to the Environment Centre at 5.30pm to hear her speak.
We will also be planning for our upcoming Flash mob - don't miss out on your chance to be part of this super fun event!

sus_social_image.jpgSustainability Social

Friday 27th Oct - 5pm Mojos rooftop bar - 2 Sydney St Mackay

It's back!

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).

RSVP and Share the event.

See you there!

Adani_petition.pngState 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.



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