|Photo © Bimblebox Nature Refuge
Bimblebox Nature Refuge is 8000 ha in extent and located in central-west Queensland. It is another likely victim of the resource boom as it is in direct line of a proposed open cut coal mine as well as an underground longwall mine earmarked for development by Waratah Coal. The open cut mine will destroy the vegetation and the overlying land subject to underground mining could succumb to substantial subsidence.
How can this happen? - you may ask. Bimblebox Nature Refuge is a protected area in the National Reserve System. It is home to the endangered black-throated finch, the vulnerable squatter pigeon and the near threatened black-chinned honeyeater, to name but a few. It provides crucial habitat in a landscape extensively cleared for grazing. Around $300 000 of tax payer funds assisted in the purchase and it is covered by a perpetual conservation agreement with the Queensland Government.
Unfortunately Nature Refuge status is no protection against mining and the royalties that flow to a cash strapped Government!
The proposed mine is massive. It is planned to mine 1.4 billion tonnes of raw thermal coal to be transported on a new 468km rail line to the expanded Abbot Point coal terminal – further destruction of an already fragmented landscape. The total mine area would cover almost 70 000 ha and about 4500 ha of remnant vegetation would be lost of which almost 4000 ha occurs on Bimblebox Nature Refuge. The EIS indicated that the project will not be viable without the destruction of Bimblebox Nature Refuge.
Photo © Bimblebox Nature Refuge
Government documents, both at Commonwealth and State level, clearly indicate that our biodiversity and associated ecosystem services are in decline and under threat. Yet in the name of progress and development this relatively short term economic resource boom is favoured over long term benefits that maintenance of our ecosystem services and protection of our biodiversity can bring.
Wildlife Queensland will be forwarding a submission expressing our concerns about this threatening proposal. Offsets are not the answer even if they can be found. Wildlife Queensland will be emphasising:
- threatening processes to already listed species
- further fragmentation of an already dissected landscape
- lack of evidence that appropriate offsets even exist
- failure to address the cumulative impacts of massive new developments in the region
- failure to adequately address the full life cycle of the mine and its 1.4 billion tonnes of coal will have on climate change.
Photo © Bimblebox Nature Refuge
Wildlife Queensland encourages people to let their concerns be heard. The closing date for submissions has been extended to 19 December 2011. Your submission must include your name, contact details and be signed and forwarded to:
The Coordinator General
c/- EIS Project manager, Galilee coal project
Significant Projects Coordination
Department of Employment, Economic Development andd Innovation
PO Box 15517 City East Queensland 4022
Or email: GCP@cg.qld.gov.au
Or fax: 07 3225 8282
For more information, visit the Bimblebox website.
For more information on Wildlife Queensland's activities, call us on +61 7 3221 0194 or send us an email.