Paperbark e-newsletter May 2016

Paperbark-1921-finalWelcome to the May edition of Paperbark!

In this issue: Pollution Free Politics, two movie screenings, Eco-Fiesta, Adani in court, government attacks environmental groups, Coastcare and more.

With a new month comes a new acting coordinator. I’d like to thank Wendy Tubman for her enormous contributions to NQCC over the past years in the position of coordinator. Filling her role is a responsibility I’m not taking lightly and I am diving straight into continuing the good work of NQCC as the voice for the environment.

Event: Pollution Free Politics, 18 May 

Our Government needs to stop subsidising the industry that is destroying our reef! Our Great Barrier Reef has experienced its worst ever recorded bleaching event. The message is clear – we can have coal or we can have a healthy reef.

Townsville will be joining communities up and down the reef coastline to deliver to their Federal MP a “Bleached Coral Cup for outstanding inaction on climate change”. This event fits into a national week of action calling for politicians to support a ban on fossil fuel subsidies and donations from the fossil fuel industry as part of the Pollution Free Politics campaign

Will you join us?

WHAT: Delivery of bleached coral trophy to MP Ewen Jones 

WHEN: Wednesday 18 May, 10am

WHERE: Ewen Jones’ office, Nathan Business Centre, 340 Ross River Road, Cranbrook

RSVP here.

For more details about the Pollution Free Politics campaign click here.

Vegetation Management Amendment Bill

NQCC made a submission to the Parliamentary Committee about the Vegetation Management Amendment Bill. Our main concerns were the destruction of habitat for native animals, the impact of soil erosion runoff to the Reef and that tree clearing contributes to climate change by destroying carbon sequestration.

Thank you to everyone in NQCC who also made a submission.

Next up is a public hearing on 18 May 5:30-7:30 pm at Rydges Southbank, Townsville.

Event: NQCC Social and Movie ‘Disobedience’ 13 May


NQCC will be hosting a movie event at HQ NQCC – a chance to meet and mingle with other NQCC members and volunteers in a social setting.
‘Disobedience’ is about what people power is capable of achieving when faced with humanity’s biggest crisis. BYO drinks and camp chairs if you have them – we only have a limited number of seats to provide.

WHEN: 6 pm, 13 May

WHERE: HQ NQCC, 114 Boundary Street, Railway Estate

RSVP here or on Facebook.

Event: Movie Screening ‘Racing Extinction’ 29 May

racing extinctionOn 29 May, NQCC will be hosting a movie night as a major fundraiser. ‘Racing Extinction’ is a documentary about undercover activists trying to stave off a man-made mass extinction. Tickets are $10. Kids are free. Drinks will be available for purchase.

WHEN: 6 pm (7 pm start), Sunday 29 May

WHERE: Kith and Kin, 123 Ingham Road, West End

RSVP here or on Facebook.

Event: EcoFiesta 29 May

NQCC will be participating at this year’s EcoFiesta. Please email me if you have a great idea about what we can do.

WHEN: 9-3 Saturday 29May

WHERE: Queen’s Gardens, Gregory Street, Townsville

Solar Power for Townsville!

solarAustralia’s biggest solar farm is going to be built 80km south of Townsville at Clare.

350,000 panels using single-axis technology will have a capacity of 100 megawatts, with an option to expand by 35 megawatts.

The project will be built, operated and maintained by Spanish company Fotowatio Renewable Ventures, and Origin Energy will purchase 100% of the farm’s generation. It is expected to be operational in 2017 with an anticipated annual production of 260 gigawatt hours.

A development application for a second major solar project is being considered by Townsville City Council. This project would be on a disused mango farm at The Pinnacles. 135 megawatts of power would be harvested by 450,000 panels at the solar farm, making the most of our 320 days per year of sunshine. Subject to approvals, it is also expected to be operational in 2017. It would provide power to 65,000 Townsville households.

NQCC has written a submission to Townsville City Council in support of this project. You can make a submission up until the end of this week.

Adani taken to court

The Australian Conservation Foundation and Environment Defenders Office have been busy in court this week mounting a legal challenge against the Adani Carmichael mine. Their argument challenged the consistency of the Minister’s approval of Carmichael with the government’s obligation to protect the World Heritage-listed Great Barrier Reef. Read more.

Attack on Environment Groups

Environmental groups such as NQCC, could lose their tax deductibility status for donations unless each year they spend at least a quarter of the money they receive on “environmental remediation works” such as tree plantings. A report was released on 4th May aiming to curtail the activism and advocacy efforts of many environment NGOs. NQCC has made a media release outlining our opposition to the proposed changes, on the basis of the widely recognised fact that prevention is better (and cheaper) than cure. We aim to prevent damage to the environment, rather than fix things after the event. However, we respect and applaud the work of other voluntary organisations that do focus on environmental remediation. You can help too.

Helping Geoffrey Bay Coastcare

NQCC has auspiced a project undertaken by Geoffrey Bay Coastcare. “Weeding working bees and planning workshops have occured over the past few months and the project is in the final completion stages. A big thank you to NQCC for auspicing the project and allowing us to focus our efforts into the on ground works” says Tony O’Malley.
NQCC also thanks the volunteers and Coastcare group for their hard work to regenerate our beautiful natural assets, as well as NQ Dry Tropics for providing the Community Landcare Grant funds.
For any further information, email Tony.

World Fish Migration Day 21 May – Ayr

The lower Burdekin has many significant wetlands that are key to good Reef health. On 21 May why not have a nice drive to Ayr and learn about this special region? Click here for more information about this free community event.

Thanking Jesse Lozo

Jesse Lozo volunteers cleaning the NQCC office and has celebrated a six month milestone at NQCC. NQCC is very appreciative of his help. Thanks Jesse!

June Paperbark Submissions

Do you have an interesting story to contribute to Paperbark? NQCC is always keen to receive member submissions on anything related to the environment, nature and conservation. Email us!

Paperbark will arrive in your letterbox in the middle of June if you have already signed up to receive it. If you haven’t, please visit this page to do so.

Welcoming our new coordinator

Back in October 2011, Wendy Tubman, then a member of the NQCC Board, volunteered to step into the vacant role of Coordinator for a three month period ‘while we found someone else’. Four and a half years later she is leaving NQCC so that she can stand as the Greens candidate for the seat of Herbert in the forthcoming federal election.

It’s hard to say ‘all the best’ to Wendy without appearing to take a party-political stance, which we avoid, but we can and do thank her for the enormous time and effort she put into NQCC.

MareeBut NQCC isn’t going away, of course. We have a young, enthusiastic and environmentally well-connected woman standing in as Acting Coordinator until we advertise the position in three months time. She is Maree Dibella (right), who has a Degree in International Studies and, until recently, was working with the Green Army as a Team Supervisor.

Maree is contactable on the NQCC numbers (07) 4771 6226 or 0428 987 535 and at from next Monday on. Please feel welcome to contact her if you have any questions about current NQCC campaigns or how you can become more involved.

Paperbark e-newsletter April 2016

In this issue: No Underground Coal Gasification for Queensland, 93% of the Reef is bleached, Queensland Weed and Pest Management, Magnetic Island Rehab, Rescuing the Reef, Beach Rubbish, Climate Change and Flood Risks, Other Local Voices

A newsletter packed with things that you can do to help NQCC and other ENGOs help the environnment. But first, some good and some very bad news…

No Underground Coal Gasification for Queensland

images-1.jpegGreat news earlier in the week, when Queensland Minister for Natural Resources and Mines Anthony Lynham (left) stole a march on everyone and overnight banned underground coal gasification (UCG), the terrifying process whereby underground coal seams are ignited in order to retrieve the gas, in Queensland.
He argued that the environmental risks outweigh economic benefits.

The ban came after UCG pilot company Linc Energy, which last week went into voluntary administration, was recently committed for trial in the District Court on five counts of wilfully and unlawfully causing serious environmental harm.

One up for the Minister and one up for the environment. If you feel like saying ‘thanks’, click here for his email address.

93% of the Reef is bleached

Unknown-1.jpegBut definitely bad news – 93% the Great Barrier Reef has been found to be suffering from coral bleaching. Bleaching is the result of warm water continuing for some time. And, in a leg-bones-connected-to-the-thigh-bone chain, warm water is connected to climate change, which is think to carbon emissions, which is linked to the burning of coal. Obviously some of our leaders have not studied anatomy because they are barracking for the opening up of the massive coal mines in the Galilee Basin. Read or listen to JCU’s Terry Hughes interview with the ABC, where he pulls no punches on sheeting home the major contributor to this international disaster.

And just in case you were wondering about the warm water trigger, March 2016 was the 11th consecutive month for which the monthly global temperature broke previous records going back to 1880. Read the Special BOM report here. And according to Peter Hannam from the SMH, there’s worse in store.

Queensland Weed and Pest Management

feral_cat.jpegInvasive flora and fauna (such as feral cats) threaten our native biodiversity and cost Australia billions of dollars every year. You can have your say on the Queensland Government’s draft Queensland Weed and Pest Animal Strategy 2016 – 2020.

The draft strategy establishes a statewide planning framework to address the impacts of Queensland’s current and potential weeds and pest animals. The strategy will guide policy, inform stakeholders and provide for coordination.

The Strategy aims to ensure that organisations including Government have a clear understanding of their responsibilities for managing weed and pest animals in Queensland. This is important as under the new Biosecurity Act everyone, including landholders, will need to take an active role in managing biosecurity risks under their control.

To have your say online or call the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries on 13 25 23 for more information. The consultation closes on 26 April 2016.

Magnetic Island Rehab

tony_2.JPGIf you want to do something about invasive species (this time weeds), NQCC is pleased to announce that it is auspicing another great urban rehab project for Geoffrey Bay Coastcare on Magnetic Island, the driving force behind which is the indefatigable Tony O’Malley (left, on site).

As part of the project, the Coastcare group will be weeding at the Hayles/Horden Avenue corner in Arcadia (bring hat, gloves, water) from 8-10am on Sunday 24 April. Between 2pm and 4pm on the same day, there will a meeting to plan what interpretation signage will be best for the project. That will be held at The Arcadia Bowls Club, Marine Drive.

So if you want to mix a visit to Maggie in this glorious weather with a bit of physical and mental stimulation, this is a great opportunity.

Rescuing the Reef

Rescuing.JPGThe 60 people attending NQCC’s Rescuing the Reef forum held at the Yacht Club last month were enthralled by JCU’s Jon Brodie’s ‘pull no punches’ presentation on the state of the Reef, the scope of the problem and the need for much, much more money to be poured quickly into fixing the quality of the water flowing into the GBR lagoon.

Attempts to deal with the problem of nutrient-rich sediment running into the Reef’s waters are seeing results fall well short of targets. Partly this is because of the inadequacy of the funds dedicated to solving the problem and partly because of the time lag between, for example, planting trees and them becoming big enough to help limit erosion.

The lack of money is incredible given that, as Jeremy Goldberg told the audience, the Reef is seen by people across the nation as Australia’s most inspiring icon by far.

While only governments can distribute public funds and make laws about land use, it is us that has the power to put the pressure on them to do so. Unless they hear from us, they’ll look elsewhere. Help out by ringing Federal Environment Minister Hunt’s office at (03) 5979 3188.

Beach Rubbish

rubbish.jpegRubbish washed up on the beach might be a familiar sight for you and you might already be picking up those bottles, food packaging and fishing gear, but every time you come back to your beach new stuff has washed up. The only way of making a real change is analysing where the debris comes from and finding ways of stopping it from ending up in the ocean in the first place – a Source Reduction Plan.

Join Tangaroa Blue Foundation for a free half day workshop that will guide you hands on how to use the information and data you might have already collected to address local stakeholders and communities and reduce the influx into the ocean. You will learn how to analyse the types of debris on your beach, how to pick certain items that can be targeted, how to engage partners in your project and how to implement solutions. By the end of the workshop you will have an action plan lined up for your specific litter problem that you can take back to your community to change your rubbish issue. You will also learn how to measure the success of your project, and will be empowered to run other similar action plans in the future.

Venue: Cape Pallarenda Quarantine Station, Date: Friday 22nd April, 2016, Time: 9am – 1pm. Snacks / drinks provided. Please RSVP by following this link

If all we do is clean-up, that’s all we’ll ever do! Let’s find ways to stop the flow of rubbish into our oceans!

Climate Change and Flood Risks

townsville_flood.jpgLate last year, the Courier Mail reported that 4400 properties in Townsville are at risk of flooding as a result of climate change induced sea level rise. The image left (courtesy of Areo3Dpro) is obviously a mock-up but may be an accurate prediction of what e face if we don’t persuade our leaders to address climate change seriously.

The Coastal Risks website uses new technology to give us an idea of just how much trouble rising seas levels may cause by 2100 if we don’t stop climate change in its tracks. Here’s the site’s self-description:

This BETA version of Coastal Risk Australia (CRA) has been opened for public consultation to show you what the Australian coast may look like in 2100. It is an interactive map tool designed to communicate coastal inundation associated with sea level rise to the year 2100. Using Google Earth Engine technology, CRA allows you to investigate the extent of coastal inundation using the latest 3D models of the Australian coastline. Data have been captured using airborne LiDAR technology to create detailed digital elevation models (DEMs), which are then combined with ‘bucket-fill’ inundation modelling to create the map-based visualisations.

Click on one of the well-known places on the front page, accept the conditions of use and you’re away. Pan and zoom to your places of interest to see the high tide flood extent for today (dark blue) and the high sea level rise scenario for 2100 (light blue). Type in a location in the top left Google Search once you’re in the map and you can go to any coastal location around Australia where there is data. In the top left corner of the map screen you can see the predicted scenarios. You are able to select either the high, medium or low sea level rise scenarios to look at how the 2100 high tide inundation changes with each scenario.

While we are on the subject of websites, another great one for exploring our wetlands is the Departmental one.

Other Local Voices

Here at NQCC we do our best to keep you up to date with environmental news but there’s a lot to cover and we don’t get around to all of it. Here are some other local voices that may help to fill the gaps:

  • Wildlife Queensland’s Townsville branch blog has regular news about action to protect the local environment. The group also runs monthly field trips and welcomes all interested people to them.
  • Yvonne Cunningham posts a weekly News from Coquette Point from the coast near Innisfail, always full of wonderful wildlife photos, often featuring cassowaries.
  • A little further North, David Rentz’s BunyipCo blogspot is full of rainforest wildlife, with an emphasis on insects. His focus is no surprise when you learn that he is a retired entomologist (ex-CSIRO in Canberra) who has been in Kuranda since 2002.
  • Local bird photographer Ian Montgomery posts a Bird of the Week which is well worth a look.
  • Finally, Peter Hanley’s blog, True North is, as you would expect from one of the mainstays of the local Amnesty International group, focused on human rights issues. We include it here because climate change is fundamentally the biggest human rights issue of all.

That’s all for April folks – look for Paperbark in your letterbox in the middle of May if you have already signed up to receive our newsletter. If you haven’t, please visit this page to do so.

Vote encourages ‘panic’ tree-clearing in Queensland

Following is the text of a media release distributed by NQCC on 18 March:

tree-clearingPanic and even illegal tree clearing may be the result of the Queensland Parliament’s delaying of an ALP Bill to limit tree-clearing throughout the State, according to North Queensland Conservation Council (NQCC) Coordinator Wendy Tubman.

The Bill conformed with the ALP’s pre-election promise to overturn the Newman Continue reading “Vote encourages ‘panic’ tree-clearing in Queensland”