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The DERM (Department of Environment and Resource Management in Queensland) website makes it crystal clear...”A nature refuge agreement is perpetual, attached to the land, and binds successive owners of the land. A perpetual agreement is the best means for you to ensure that your good land management practices and restoration work will be continued when future generations or when ownership changes”.

Tell that to the owners of Bimblebox. Their 8000ha nature refuge is under threat from Waratah Coal, which plans an open-cut mine that would destroy more than half of the refuge, and long-wall mining under the other half. And the Bimblebox owners can’t just say ‘no thanks’!

The Environmental Impact Statement (prepared by Waratah) is open for public comment until 19 December. Find out more about Bimblebox Nature Refuge and make a submission.


Bimblebox is the first nature refuge to be so threatened by mining – and what happens there will influence what happens on other nature refuges around the state. If you want to see Bimblebox and other nature refuges protected from mining for future generations, PLEASE find time to make a submission by the due date.


How COULD they do it? 
 
Nature Refuges are areas of land nominated by landholders and after assessment by a Departmental Nature Refuge Officer, accepted by the  Department. In making the assessment, consideration is given to:


·  areas containing, or providing habitat for, plant and animal species   that are rare or threatened;

·  habitats or vegetation types that are threatened, such as  endangered and of concern regional ecosystems;

·  habitats and ecosystems that are poorly represented in existing reserves;

·  remnant vegetation;

·  movement corridors for native animals, especially those linking areas of remnant vegetation or existing reserves;

·  significant wetlands, including mound spring communities; and/or

·  cultural heritage.


The assessment also considers the significance of the potential nature refuge at a property, landscape and strategic level. Nature refuges are those that:


·  at a property level, contain significant conservation values that are of a sufficient size, condition and placement in the landscape to remain viable in the long-term;

·  at a landscape level, increase the representation of the state's biodiversity and establish or maintain landscape linkages and corridors; and/or

·  at a strategic level, possess exceptional values or circumstances that directly or indirectly contribute to improved conservation in Queensland.


Given the selection criteria, it is incredible that Bimblebox (or any) Nature Refuge can be handed over for coal mining. Please find the time before 19 December to make a submission asking for the protection of Bimblebox from mining.

 


Marianne
30/11/2011 13:20

It is alarming to learn that the title 'nature reserve ' means nothing if the mining companies or any one else can just demand the land if and when they choose to.It seems nothing is safe against the desires of the big companies and none and nothing can feel secure in their long term position. The destruction of unique environment and wildlife is scandalous and all who care need to alert others of the situation and voice their objections loud and clear by lobbying The Government.

Reply
03/12/2011 11:17

Thanks Marianne and what I am posting here is the speech we prepared for the press conference in Brisbane a couple of weeks ago, in the hope to raise more awareness.

A line in the sand of our fragile land: ‘No mining on Nature Refuges’

Today I mostly want to ask some questions about the way governments have changed their attitudes to Nature Refuges.
For many years, both State and Federal governments recognised the need to have the map of Qld dotted with places like Bimblebox and everyone recognized that National Parks weren’t enough to stop the decline in our native species.
The Qld Government has ALSO recently set a target for the year 2020: To protect 20 million ha of land for conservation. A third of this is to be Nature Refuges. But given the current policy of free-reign to mining: How can the government expect landowners to make a life-long commitment? They ask us to commit to protect land forever. But now we know it can all be turned into rubble!
So, what has changed? Has the state of the environment got better so that we don’t need these areas anymore to preserve native species? Or has the aggression of the mining industry become impossible to halt? WHY IS IT SO HARD FOR OUR GOVERNMENTS TO say NO to the relentless demand for new land to dig up? These are the questions we AS NATURE REFUGE LANDHOLDERS ARE facing in our current struggle.
I am asking both governments to uphold the agreements they have signed with landholders LIKE US. Not to just hand us over to the coal companies. The government can still refuse a Mining Lease to Waratah Coal, the company planning to turn our entire protected area into a mine. This could be done by legislating for ‘no mining on Nature Refuges’.
If you think land to produce food is irreplaceable, how are we going to put back old growth bushland? Only because of the lies hidden in the words ‘rehabilitation’ and ‘offsets’, are the mining companies given safe-haven loopholes to go on with their business as usual EVEN ON NATURE REFUGES.
Bimblebox could be the first destroyed for a coal mine, but it is not the only Nature Refuge targeted by coal companies. There are many other HIGH CONSERVATION VALUE AREAS that will follow suit.

We didn’t have these problems before mining companies became so aggressive. We were trusted with a mandate to protect native bushland for future generations, and we were all congratulated for our efforts.

In our case the premier at the time, Peter Beattie, even visited Bimblebox. Our Nature Refuge was recognised as a show case for low-impact grazing. That was about ten years ago. Sad to see that Bimblebox has now become a show case for government double standards.

Our situation is the result of governments that talk about the need to SET ASIDE MORE LAND FOR CONSERVATION AND move to clean energy, while at the same time they make plans to open up the huge fossil fuel deposits of the Galilee Basin, the area west of the Great Dividing Range, where Bimblebox is located.

The opening up of the Galilee Basin is all a hurry-hurry-hurry game! There’s no time to consider the long term effects these mines will have on the LAND out there.
Bore water, for example, is the life-blood in the far west. But there’s been no study at all on how huge open cut mines, like the one proposed for Bimblebox, could affect the Great Artesian Basin. Those grazing properties not resumed for mining might have to shut up shop anyway, if their bore water becomes unreliable or unusable.
The beautiful Kelly Valley Wetlands near the Great Barrier Reef IS BEING filled in as we speak, to make room for more mega tonnes of coal: All to be exported to coal-fired power stations in Asia. BY CHOOSING COAL OVER NATURE REFUGES all we are doing is making Asia more dependent on our coal AND DISCOURAGING OTHER QUEENSLANDERS FROM SETTING ASIDE LAND FOR PROTECTION.
This really is the time to act, before our future is taken from us.

Reply
Trish Kelly
05/12/2011 00:30

I'm also a Nature Refuge landholder. I had hoped that Nature Refuge status would afford my land some sort of protection as the world was consumed around me. For the sake of all Nature Refuges, we must aim to legislate against the mining of Nature Refuges. We must preserve our remnant vegetation and what biodiversity we have left.

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