Keep our wild rivers safe
Photo © Wildlife Queensland
Now is the perfect time to ask the Queensland Government to ensure that three of Queensland’s most iconic inland river systems – the Georgina River, Diamantina River and the Cooper Creek are fully protected from threats under the Wild Rivers Act.
Recently the Minister for Environment, the Hon Vicki Darling MP, proposed the Georgina and Diamantina Rivers for declaration under the Wild Rivers Act. These rivers declarations are currently open for public consultation until 28 November 2011. Earlier this year the Government also proposed the Cooper Creek for declaration and consultation closed in June. These river systems form the Queensland part of Lake Eyre and are amongst some of the world’s last arid river systems without significant water development. These proposals reflect the Governments ongoing commitment to protect Queensland’s iconic and unique river systems.
Once completed, these Wild River declarations will establish protective zones around key rivers, floodplain and lakes aimed at carefully regulating development and preventing highly destructive developments like large dams and strip mining. However mining remains a significant threat to these rivers. Mining tenements of some sort now cover around 80% of these river catchments.
It is vital that we act now and tell the Government to ensure that threats such as coal seam gas extraction and other mining are controlled under these plans.
The Wild Rivers framework does not prevent all development and a whole range of low impact developments such as eco-tourism, community infrastructure and cattle grazing are permitted within a Wild River Area. The native title rights of Traditional Owners are also enshrined into the Wild Rivers Act.
What you can do:
Please take the time to write a letter to the Premier (and cc DERM) asking her to urgently declare Cooper Creek and the Georgina and Diamantina Rivers under the Wild Rivers Act and ensure that destructive industries such as coal seam gas and other mining are strictly regulated.
Here are some ideas on what to say in your letter:
- Tell the Premier that you support her ongoing commitment to protect Queensland’s Wild Rivers particularly the recent proposals to protect Cooper Creek and the Georgina and Diamantina Rivers
- Express your concern that these rivers systems may still be at risk from mining activities and coal seam gas developments
- Ask her to ensure that:
- coal seam gas exploration and extraction is banned in high preservation areas and special floodplain management areas;
- strict controls are in place to regulate other mining activities in surrounding areas to eliminate the risk of contamination of these special waterways.
- Ask that your letter be included as a formal submission for the Georgina and Diamantina River proposals
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