Photo © WPSQ
Did you know that North Stradbroke Island (NSI) is the only sand island off the south-east coast of Queensland not protected against sand mining?
The majority of the Island is in the path of destructive mining interests much of which includes highly valued ecosystems which the public cannot access.
The current sand mining practises on NSI are outdated and the Island needs to be protected under a system of national parks for future generations.
Sand mining leases on the island were granted by the Bjelke-Petersen National Party during an era when government and community attitudes towards the environment were very different. In the 1970s the Liberal/National Party Government under Malcolm Fraser stopped sand mining on Fraser Island. Similarly, sand mining was stopped on Moreton Island, Cooloola and at Shelburne Bay in North Queensland, where the then ALP Government cancelled sand mining leases via an amendment by Parliament to the Mineral Resources Act. These government actions recognised the immense value of protecting the environment from this destructive industry. NSI too has been widely recognised for its special environmental significance. It is now time to stop sand mining on Stradbroke Island
The current situation of expired mining leases presents a unique opportunity for the state government to put an end to this destructive practice. More than a dozen mining leases have expired, including leases currently being mined. Applications to renew the expired leases are currently before the government. Wildlife Queensland urges the government to halt sand mining on Stradbroke Island and protect the area as national park and public open space. In the interim Wildlife Queensland advocates no renewed mining leases particularly leases numbered 1117, 1119 and 1120 (which are essential to the so-called ‘Enterprise’ mine).
These areas contain substantial tracts of old growth forests and woodlands which support a myriad of wildlife species. By refusing to renew these mining leases and protecting these environments the government has the ability to add to protected area estate at minimal cost. This would assist it to fulfil its promise to protect 50% more land for nature conservation and public recreation.
Values of North Stradbroke Island
- NSI is nationally recognised for its high biodiversity including rare and endangered species, RAMSAR protected wetlands, fresh water lakes, rainforest, old growth forests, woodlands and many ecologically significant vegetation communities.
- NSI has a genetically unique population of koalas. The continued destruction of woodlands for mining is a major threat to NSI’s unique population of koalas.
- NSI is the closest island to the major population centre of Greater Brisbane which has an acute shortage of public open space. SEQ has only 19% open space compared to Greater Sydney’s 49%.
- NSI’s natural beauty and close proximity to Brisbane delivers huge ecotourism values. The ever-dwindling jobs of this mining industry can be replaced by permanent jobs in national parks and low impact, well managed ecotourism.
- There is an 11 year unresolved native title claim on parts of the Island. Wildlife Queensland advocates working with traditional owners to resolve this through the development of national parks with co-management by government and traditional owners as has been done throughout parts of the Northern Territory and northern Queensland.