Upper Dawson Update – May 2012

Water lilies, nymphaea gigantea

The weather has been dry again for the last month; but happily some welcome rain has been recorded around the area.  Great for the crops and the environment

We have entered a period when things have gone mad in the development industries in our valley.  There have been many EISs etc, meetings, submissions and visits that I am really battling to keep up with them all.  A group of other people from Taroom  have entered the fray and it is great to be working along side them.  This is very encouraging for our branch and the community at large.  Because we are being snowed under, we have asked the Coordinator General for an extension of time to complete our submissions.  This has been refused for the Cockatoo Coal’s TORs

The really big issue is the EIS (copy in Taroom library) for the proposed dam at Nathan.  WPSQ Head Office arranged a meeting with SunWater in Brisbane.  I was also able to attend with Nigel Parratt from the Queensland Conservation Council.  The main topics we discussed were the survival of the Boggomosses and the Boggomoss Snail and adequate Offsets for the destruction of the riparian corridors and the flowing stream and ripple effect that is so necessary for the survival of the ecological standard of the present stream.  We came away dissatisfied with their proposed solutions.  This dissatisfaction was strengthened after attending SunWater’s Information Day in Taroom and sharing ideas with local landholders along the river.  On Monday 21st May, SunWater convened a meeting in Taroom of the Nathan Consultative Committee.  This was well attended and many important and practical points were raised.  After going through the EIS in the library and attending all these meetings, we have not changed our view that the whole project SHOULD NOT GO AHEAD.  It offers nothing in the long term for our valley or community and the environmental degradation that will result is too high a price to pay to use our lovely river water to wash dirty coal for export and to add insult to injury, transfer Dawson water into the over-committed Murray – Darling System.  Become active and put in a submission to the Coordinator General and contact your local Member and Shire Councilors with your view on the matter because this is of utmost importance.

Both the Taroom and Collingwood Coal projects have been visited and the environmental issues examined.  These are included in our TOR submission.  The Taroom Project presents the special problem of being so close to the town with all the dust, noise, lights and health problems.  These will have to be addressed satisfactorily if our town is to survive.  The big pit would also come very close to the environmentally healthy fish-filled lagoons and waterholes in Sandy Creek.  How will they Offset this?

The new State Government is forming a Coal Seam Gas Commission to study the industry and we have supported the Queensland Conservation Council’s Submission to the Government on its formation.

Met with Santos in Brisbane and discussed the releasing of RO water into the Dawson.  They intend to apply for a licence at the end of June.  They will then negotiate the terms of the release with the Government over a two month period.  We will then have an opportunity to lodge a submission.

While there, also met with their Environmental Officer and we discussed the plan they have put forward for environmentally researching the Palm Tree – Robinson wetlands.  The Firzroy Basin Association had also obtained funding for this project.  An overall plan will be worked out between us all in the near future to get the show on the road.

One of our members, Jane Grey, has undertaken to write a history of the branch since we were formed twenty-seven years ago.  We would like to thank Cockatoo Coal for their contribution to cover some of the costs of this project.  After this history is printed, we intend to add sections on the plants and birds of our district as time and finances permit.

Adam C Clark (Project Officer)

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