Photo © FOSI
Wildlife Queensland congratulates the Bligh Government on their plan to phase out destructive mining practices on North Stradbroke Island (NSI) by 2027. Finally the Government is planning for the future, protecting our unique natural heritage and hopefully taking significant action before it’s too late. While a significant step in the right direction, wildlife and its habitat remains at risk.
The Government’s new plan is to phase out mining on NSI by 2027 and convert 80% of the island to some class of national park. Within the next 18 months, the Government intends to declare over 50% of the island to some form of national park tenure. Wildlife Queensland considers this a significant step forward to delivering a long-term sustainable future for the island. Wildlife Queensland understands the need to phase out mining therefore giving the mining industry and the people it employs a transitional period so that rehabilitation can occur.
Wildlife Queensland is extremely concerned that the Government may be considering renewing some expired mining leases. The Government must remain focused on protecting the environmental, cultural and economic values of the un-mined natural areas of NSI. This means NOT renewing expired mining leases - particularly those essential to the so-called 'Enterprise' mine unless there is a condition for rehabilitation purposes only.
Sand Mining on Stradbroke
Photo © FOSI
This mine is the biggest, deepest and most destructive on the island. It contains some of the most pristine forests and heathlands on the island supporting a myriad of wildlife. These areas must be protected NOW - not after they have been mined. Should the Government decide to renew these leases they must be for rehabilitation purposes only and not to facilitate further destruction. The reality is that if mining stopped at Enterprise tomorrow, there would still be adequate jobs in decommissioning the mine and rehabilitation for at least 5 years. Rehabilitation must be to a high standard. The company must undertake their obligation and rehabilitate the land or meet the cost until that is achieved.
The new plan also delivers significant positive outcomes for the Quandamooka people, the Traditional Owners of NSI. NSI National Parks will be jointly managed by the Government and Traditional Owners. The Government has also agreed to a clear a path forward with the Quandamooka people to achieve formal native title recognition over much of the island and anticipates this to occur in 2011.
Phasing out mining and protecting the environment opens up huge opportunities for long term sustainable industries while providing a lasting legacy for future generations. The ever-dwindling jobs of this mining industry can now be replaced by permanent jobs in national parks and low impact, well managed ecotourism. Such activities will only boost the overall economic benefits for the island and its people.
Can mined areas be declared National Parks?
The answer to this question is yes, they can be declared National Park (recovery). These areas are managed in a way that protects and/or restores, to the greatest possible extent, the park’s natural conditions and protects its cultural resources and values so that in time it can be gazetted as ones of the statutory classes of national park. Wildlife Queensland is of the opinion that there will be a mixture of some class of national park comprising the declaration within the next 18 months.
What Wildlife Queensland is doing
Wildlife Queensland is lobbying the Government to ensure the protection of un-mined natural areas and that expired mining leases, particularly those essential to the Enterprise mine, are NOT renewed. Wildlife Queensland would only support the renewal of these leases for rehabilitation purposes only.
What you can do
Write to the Premier, Minister for Climate Change and Sustainability and the Minister for Natural Resources, Mines and Energy and Minister for Trade show your support for this recent announcement BUT insist that un-mined natural areas are to be protected and NOT mined.
More information on sand mining:
For more information on Wildlife Queensland's activities, call us on +61 7 3221 0194 or send us an email.