Port expansion - not with a bang but a whimper!

(As published in full in the Townsville Bulletin, Tuesday 3 October, 2017 - "Dredging spells stress")

Port Expansion – not with a bang but a whimper!

The decision of the Queensland Coordinator General to approve the massive expansion of the Townsville Port is another sad day for anyone genuinely interested in the beauty, the attractiveness and liveability of Townsville.

Yes, the project was subject to environmental impact assessment, but to call this rigorous is not true. The system involves the port employing consultants to prepare a report on the impact of the proposed development. Public comments on this report are considered (or dismissed) by the port and it is the port who delivers the findings to the government. The fox is well and truly in charge of the hen-house.

The widening, deepening and endless annual maintenance dredging of the port access channel will have direct impacts on the reefs, sea grasses and marine environment on which many marine species (including dugongs, dolphins, turtles and fish) depend, and which generations of Townsvilleans have enjoyed over life times. With annual dumping of hundreds of thousands of maintenance dredge spoil in the waters between Magnetic Island and Cleveland Bay and this being continually re-suspended by currents and wind driven waves, how could this be otherwise?

Residents and visitors to the island will tell you that the reefs and marine environment have been declining for decades – the marine tourism experience for our children, ourselves and our tourists is much diminished, shamefully, on our watch.

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National Day of Action - Make a human sign to "StopAdani"

Our biggest day yet to #StopAdani.

 

Sometimes you just need to spell it out for people.

 

The fate of Adani’s monstrous coal mine hangs on securing a one billion dollar government loan from our government. This is our moment to call out our political leaders for supporting this Reef-destroying, future destroying mine.

 

So we’re going to spell out the #StopAdani message loud and clear for our politicians.

 

As the sun sets on Saturday 7 October, thousands of Australians will have had the biggest day of action we’ve ever seen to stop Adani. We will create human signs so big that they can’t be ignored, at iconic locations across Australia and make no mistake the beach below the Rockpool, the Strand, Townsville with Magnetic Island in the background and our beloved Castle in the foreground is our icon.

 

With the creative team that brought you Heads in the Sand which went viral togeather with many of Townsville's leading singers we will create a massive human sign and sing our hearts out to the tune of the three line chorus of Let the Sun Shine In from the musical Hair. As a bonus, small, red and white cardboard placards will be available which we can hold to the sky as the drone flown camera captures our stop sign.

 

Come in your normal beach or other comfortable clothes.

 

We all know the implications of this massive coal project and we see the sad politics around us every day. Now is the time for action to spell out our view and sing a simple chorus to let the sunshine in and make the transition now to renewable energy. For one hour in the afternoon come to the beach and be part of our biggest event so far.

 

Will you be part of the Big Day of Action to #StopAdani here in Townsville?    RSVP HERE.

 

Bring the family. This will be fun!!

 

What: #StopAdani Big Day of Action human sign

When: 4pm, 7th October 2017 (Note: this is a change of time from originally advised)

Where: The Beach directly below the Rockpool, The Strand, Townsville


Clean Energy – finally, the revolution is on.

Clean Energy – finally, the revolution is on (Qld Government Information meetings).

If you haven’t been watching, the energy revolution is on – the rapid transition to renewable energy is taking off. Nothing like what it should be yet but it has started, it is picking up steam very quickly and it is unstoppable. And believe it or not, Queensland, not South Australia, and central and north Queensland within it, is leading (more on this to come in this blog space).

The Queensland Government is holding community information events next month on its policies to 1. transition to net zero emissions by 2050 and 2. adapt to the impacts of climate change. The link for registration at the Townsville event is here. The link to the two strategies is here.

The organizing questions are:

What does climate change and a low-carbon world mean for you, your business and your community?

What is the Queensland Government doing to lead our shared response?

I was fortunate to receive a related briefing from the Dept. of Environment and Heritage Protection (DEHP) with Queensland Conservation Council and other NGOs late last month before departing for Townsville. Sadly, the public meetings will not include political decision makers, just the committed and enthusiastic DEHP public servants who finally are on about implementation of these generally progressive but still very modest policies.

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Coral Sea Marine Park Draft Management Plan - NQCC Comments

NQCC submission on the Coral Sea Marine Park Draft Management Plan.

On 20 September public comments closed on the federal Department of Environment and Energy’s Draft Management Plan for the Coral Sea. This was an opportunity for NQCC to have its views heard along with groups and individuals from around the country and the full text can be found here.

You may recall, Australia was heralded as a world leader in 2012 when the Marine Park Network and particularly the Coral Sea Marine Park were declared by the Labor Government. The Australian public overwhelmingly supported their declaration. This followed some 15 years of research, advocacy and consultation including some 10 years work by consecutive governments of both major parties. It included campaigning by NGOs in Australia, such as former colleagues of mine at WWF, one of whom received a richly deserved AO in part for her role in the Coral Sea declaration. To see this good work partly unravel is disillusioning. But it is not over yet!

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Welcoming the new committee

Our AGM on Monday 19 September drew a good attendance. David Sewell, with an established reputation, did not dissapoint with his portable pizza oven.

Gail Hamilton chaired the first part of the meeting, presented her own presidential report and introduced the Annual Report prepared by Maree Dibella before her departure from the co-ordinator’s role. The usual financial reports were presented and accepted, and Russell Kelly introduced himself to the members before reporting on what he has done in his first two weeks as co-ordinator.

Russell then took the chair for the election, at which Wendy Tubman was appointed, unopposed, to the position of President. Welcome back, and welcome to your new role, Wendy!

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Powering North Queensland - renewable energy summit, Townsville

The Powering North Queensland Summit organised by the Australian Solar Council and the Energy Storage Council was held in Townsville on August 31. The list of speakers included Curtis Pitt, local MPs and senior management from a dozen renewable energy projects - Copperstring, Genex, Infigen and more. “Community groups” were encouraged to attend; NQCC was represented by the President, Gail Hamilton. Dr Bill Laing, NQCC member and committed campaigner for solar energy, also attended and was kind enough to send us his summary. Here it is.

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Is this really the end for the Great Barrier Reef?

 This post originally appeared on NQCC Vice-President Peter Hanley's blog.

Last Saturday the North Queensland Conservation Council hosted a screening of “Chasing Coral”, a recently released film that documents the disastrous bleaching events that have destroyed large areas of coral reef around the world. Following the film there was a panel discussion featuring Dr John ”Charlie” Veron, Tony Fontes, a tourism operator from Airlie Beach and Dr David Wachenfeld, the Director of Reef Recovery at the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority.

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Paperbark July 2017 - News from NQ Conservation

Welcome to the July Paperbark! Check out all the wonderful events happening around our community this month! NQCC is recruiting - an ad will appear on Ethical Jobs over the coming days. If you are interested in joining the NQCC team, email NQCC President Gail Hamilton at president@nqcc.org.au

News

‘Chasing Coral’ film event

NQCC is proud to be delivering a local screening of the internationally acclaimed documentary ‘Chasing Coral’. This film records coral beaching around the world using time lapse cinematography. After the film there will be a Q&A panel with Dr Charlie Veron who is featured in the film, Tony Fontes who is a dive instructor and Reef campaigner from Airlie Beach, and Dr David Wachenfeld who is the Director of the Reef Recovery Program at GBRMPA. A must-see event!

Where: James Cook University, Medical Lecture Theatre 45.002
When: 6:30pm for 7pm start
Click here to RSVP for your FREE ticket!

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Kevin’s Corner court case decision

On 4 July the Queensland Land Court handed down its decision to uphold the mining lease and environmental authority for the Kevin’s Corner coal mine in the Galilee Basin. NQCC commenced legal action in 2015 challenging that the cumulative impact assessment was not properly conducted. Read our full media release and background information here.

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Website changes June - July 2017

Our website is currently transitioning from one host to another, and further changes will occur once the transition is complete. Please be patient with any interruptions and let us know about any errors.


Power Shift - Youth Climate Summit

A call out to all young people, aged 15–30, living in North Queensland who care about a safe climate and a just and sustainable future.

Over July 22–24 in Melbourne, 700 young Australians from across the country will have the opportunity to gather at Power Shift, one of Australia’s largest youth climate justice events, to hear inspiring speakers, to train in communication and campaign organising, and to meet and network with passionate young people from across the country.

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Run by the Australian Youth Climate Coalition (AYCC) and Seed Indigenous Youth Climate Climate Network, this summit will focus on Stop Adani, the campaign to prevent the disastrous coal project on the Great Barrier Reef, threatening our sick Reef and opening up millions of tonnes worth of coal which will spell game over for our climate. In Australia, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are at the forefront of climate change, which is why at Power Shift we’ll have a big focus on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander resistance.

AYCC and Seed are committed to making this event accessible to folks from regional areas who ordinarily may not have the opportunity to attend, so they are making 2 free tickets available (ordinarily $150ea) to any young networks of NQCC who think this is the event for them. Send an email to Robin at robin.parkin@aycc.org.au by Thursday July 13, quoting 'NQCC' to claim.

Visit www.powershift2017.org.au for more information. Together, we can create a more just and sustainable world.