Rainbow Bee

Report
Bimblebox Nature Refuge
Desert Uplands
Central-west Queensland
Location of
Bimblebox
500km west of
Rockhampton
50km north-west of
Alpha
Brief background
o
o
The property was bought in
2000 to save it from clearing
with combined money of
concerned families, plus ~
$300,000 of federal National
Reserve System funding
In 2002 the Bimblebox Nature Refuge Agreement
was signed between the land owners and the state
government, to “permanently protect” the property’s
conservation values
What’s so good about Bimblebox?
o
o
7,912 hectares, over 95% is remnant woodland and
judged by ecologists to be in good condition
One of very few conservation areas in Desert Uplands
(considered a ‘biodiversity hotspot’ but less than 5% of the
bioregion is formally protected)
o
Rich in biodiversity – birds, reptiles, flora
o
Important example of conservation-oriented grazing
o
Hosts a number of long-term research projects
Obligations by owners of Bimblebox
There are extensive conditions under both the
National Reserve System (Commonwealth Govt) and
Nature Refuge Program (Queensland Govt)
e.g., there “must be no destruction of any native
plants”; the Minister must be informed if there are any
“threats” to the refuge
Mining threat to Bimblebox
o
o
o
Waratah coal announced they were starting exploration
activities in 2007, 20 exploration holes drilled in 2008
2011 EIS detailed plans to open cut around 52% of
Bimblebox and underground mine the remainder
Proposed production of 40 Mt/year
 Two open cut and four underground mines proposed + rail line +
adjacent power plant
o
o
Current legislation does not exempt private protected
areas from mining
QLD Coordinator General granted conditioned
approval in Aug 2013, Federal assessment due in Nov
Proposed Galilee coal mines and their status
(source: Draining Our Lifeblood Report)
The proposed mine and Bimblebox
Consequences of mining
o
Loss of habitat and biodiversity

o
Mining the National Reserve System of protected
areas

o
Not just Bimblebox – other remnant woodland in region
threatened by proposed mines
To our knowledge no protected area has been wholly
destroyed by mining… could this set a dangerous
precedent?
Loss of trust by landholders who invest much time,
energy, money and passion in protecting Australia’s
unique biodiversity
“Today over 560,800
hectares of some the
world’s most biologically
diverse areas are
protected in Nature
Refuges”
“All 242 nature refuge
landholders have one
thing in common – they
know their patch is worth
protecting forever”
(2007)
Nature Refuge News, Aug 2007
Our opposition
o
o
o
Letters: to Qld & C’wealth Ministers, to IUCN
Media: letters to newspapers, radio interviews, website
Submissions: detailed response to Waratah EIS and SEIS +
submissions to other proposed mines in region
o
Networking with others: Mackay Conservation Group,
Human Society International, Capricornia Conservation Council,
6 Degrees etc..
o
Other: hosted Bimblebox Art Camp, reporting breaches to
DERM, postcard campaign, petition to the Queensland
Government, documentary made, etc…
o
Objecting to Alpha Coal Mine, Land Court Qld
Objecting to Alpha Coal Mine
o
o
Located within 10km of Bimblebox northern
boundary
Grounds of objection:


Groundwater impacts that will effect business and
livelihood and the integrity of the nature refuge
Missed out objecting on coal dust likely to exceed the
levels recommended by the Environmental
Protection Policy (EPP) (Air) by around 13 times on
Bimblebox. There is no evidence that this dust could
be mitigated
Galilee Basin: Saudi Arabia?
o
Many companies have identified the Galilee Basin
as the next major energy province in QLD

o
Coal, CSG, Shale Gas, UCG
Qld State Government’s goal
“… development of a world scale energy province in
Queensland”
o
Campbell Newman to Tony Abbot
“get out of our way” in the Galilee Basin
1 July 2005, 183 EPCs, area = 49,500 km2
1 July 2009, 414 EPCs, area = 121,500 km2
Cumulative impacts
o
o
o
o
o
Groundwater
Biodiversity
Climate
Social
Economic
What now?
o
o
o
Waratah Coal’s final EIS to the Commonwealth
Government open for comment from 30th Sept
Greg Hunt is currently assessing the project. Public
comment will be open from Monday until he makes
a decision, which is expected in November
Waratah still has to apply for water licences and a
Mining Licence – at which stage the public has the
opportunity to put in an objection to the Land Court
What can we do?
o
Clive Palmer and the PUP in parliament (Reps & Senate)
•
•
Coalition motivated to keep Clive happy?
"We'll just kick them in the arse. We'll kick pretty hard and
we'll push pretty hard…” (Palmer quoted in 2010 regarding state
approval)
•
o
Waratah Coal been revealed to employ lobbyists
Keep mobilising public opposition to this mine and
raising awareness about the potential disaster of Galilee
Basin development
Possible legal avenues
o
Challenging the federal EPBC decision
o
o
Challenging the mining lease and environmental authority at the
state level
o
o
o
Timing: December 2013/January 2014
Timing: Beginning of 2014
We welcome your ideas and expertise in this area
Are there any other avenues that we may not be aware of?
“Our family, 10 years ago put every available last dollar
into buying the place to save it from bulldozers. Then in
securing it as a Nature Refuge, we were charged by both
federal and state governments with the responsibility to
restore and preserve.
That’s our brief and we intend to keep it and if
government and industry cannot recognise its value,
then we who do, must show them this place means as
much to us as coal does to them.”
Ian Hoch, Bimblebox
[email protected]
www.bimblebox.org
Black orchid
Migratory Rainbow Bee-eater
White-necked Heron
Nobby Dragon
On the boundary of Bimblebox
A view over the boundary
Silver-leaved Ironbark woodland and Spinifex understorey

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