In what is these days a rare win for the environment, the day before COAG met last week, Prime Minister Gillard announced that the proposal to hand over responsibility for the Federal Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act to the States was withdrawn – for now. There is a suggestion that it be discussed again at the next COAG meeting (June 2013).
So for now, the threat of having our State governments in charge of things such as World Heritage, Commonwealth Marine Waters, and rare and threatened species listed at the national level is off the agenda.
But over the coming months, NQCC and others will be working hard to ensure that the Federal government does not ditch its responsibilities for the environment – and we will be calling on you to help maintain the pressure.
Please keep an eye and ear out for references to the potential handover and respond to print and electronic media comments on the issue.
According to the 150 or so who came along, the rally against uranium mining at the Riverway Arts Centre Amphitheatre on Thursday 29 November rocked! The rally was one of several happening throughout the state under the banner of Queensland Nuclear Fee Alliance. In Townsville the rally saw the emergence of TRAUMA (Townsville Region Against Uranium Mining Anywhere).
About 150 people waved banners, placards, dressed in ‘safety suits’ (or one as ‘Death Himself’), painted faces and distributed ‘yellow cake’ while listening to four speakers talk about the downsides of uranium mining from environmental, health, economic and traditional owner perspectives. The proceedings ended with a great song about ‘Keelbottom Creek’ the location of Ben Lomond uranium mine site, just 50 km from Townsville CBD.
The rally kicked off what will be a summer of Anti-U action – all designed to get the message through to our politicians that, when it comes to uranium-mining, it has to be ‘NOT NOW, NOT EVER’.
Watch this site for notice of future actions!
Photos: Pen Sheridan
There are already 13 uranium potential mine sites in Queensland, 7 of these are in north Queensland and one (Ben Lomond) is just 50kms from the centre of Townsville. All of these, and more, could well start operating thanks to the Queensland government’s unplanned and precipitous decision to overturn long and strongly community-supported bans on uranium mining in Queensland.
Let the world know that you do not support risking our health, our environment and world peace for the sake of a few dollars and precious few jobs.
Join the rally to keep Queensland uranium-free:
WHEN: Amphitheatre behind the Riverway Arts Centre, Village Boulevarde (off Riverway Drive), ThuringowaWHERE: Thursday 29 November
TIME: 4.45pm start – 5.45pm
Learn more about the health, environment and peace threats that would come with any uranium mining and more of the truth about the economic impact Join other like-minded folk in expressing your disapproval of the government’s policy reversal. For more information about uranium, click here.
Sign the petition to help protect Queensland and the world for future generations and enjoy the beautiful tropical evening by the river at one of Townsville’s most spectacular community facilities.
Bring the family and friends. Meet Olly – the activist dog. After the rally, you can swim in the lagoon, picnic and/or enjoy the river walk.
What to Bring: Placards, signs, banners, your outrage, your friends and neighbours and family – anyone and everyone who wants a Queensland free of uranium mining!
SEE YOU THERE!
That well-known environmental activist Somebody Else is away on holiday AND URGENT ACTION IS REQUIRED – so it is up to YOU to contact Prime Minister Gillard!
On 7 December, COAG (the Council of Australian Governments) will be meeting. One of the topics up for discussion/decision is the proposal put to COAG back in May by the Business Council of Australia (BCA) for the Federal government to handover responsibility for decisions under the major piece of Federal environmental legislation, the EPBC Act, to the States. The request was made by BCA in order to ‘streamline’ – that is, speed up – development decisions.
Without Federal legislation under the control of Canberra we would now have oil rigs on the Great Barrier Reef, cattle grazing in the Victorian Alps, a dam blocking the majestic Franklin River and a new coal port in pristine Shoalwater Bay.In Queensland the BCA proposal would be likely to mean even faster approval of coal mines, coal ports, dredging and dumping in the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area.Our environmental laws need strengthening and financing to avert these threats, not gutting and handing over to the States. Australia faces the highest mammal extinction rate in the world, the worst per capita rate of carbon emissions in the world, contaminated rivers and water, clearing of forests and bush, declining soils, overfishing and a host of bad environmental decisions made every day all over Australia.PLEASE contact Prime Minister Gillard and let her know how strongly opposed you are to the weakening and handover of national environmental control. Please email her at
or call her on (02) 6277 7700 – you probably will only speak to an off-sider but your call will be documented. And then contact your local member!
PLEASE do it now – this has huge ramifications!
In a media release sent on 10 October, North Queensland Conservation Council expressed great misgiving about the way in which the approval for Hancock Coal’s 60 megatonne terminal at Abbot Point (T3) in the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area appears to have been pushed through prior to all relevant information being considered.
“We understand that there are major differences between the environmental importance of the site as it was described to the Minister by the proponent, Hancock, and the importance found in surveys undertaken for Hancock and others for a Cumulative Impact Assessment”, said Wendy Tubman, Coordinator of North Queensland Conservation Council.
‘The Minister makes much of the fact that the approval was given with 60 conditions. However, when the conditions include such things as ‘pre-clearance surveys’, one is left wondering why these were not done before approval was given, as input into the approval decision-making process, rather than after.
‘We are also concerned by such things as the proponent being allowed to destroy areas of seagrass, as long as they ‘work with the Queensland Government to identify opportunities to protect and conserve seagrass, the vital asset that protects threatened species including dolphins, marine turtles and dugongs’. Why allow assets ‘vital’ to protected species to be damaged in the first place, Ms Tubman queried.
‘The community is painfully aware, through UNESCO’s threat to reclassify the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area as ‘in danger’, through AIMS finding of the massive loss of coral cover over recent years, and through JCU models showing the spread of coal dust on the outer reef, that the Great Barrier Reef is under extreme pressure from coastal development, in particular that associated with the reckless drive to mine and export coal. We call on Tony Burke to reconsider his approval.’
WANT TO HELP US MAKE THE POINT?