In light of the agreement last week between China and the United States on climate change, the Sunshine Coast Council Mayor Mark Jamieson believes the proposed solar farm for the Coast places the #sunshinecaost ahead of the curve economically and environmentally.
Labor’s Environment Spokesperson, Jackie Trad, has warned the LNP’s 2050 Reef Plan falls woefully short of addressing the key issues impacting on the health of the Great Barrier Reef.
Ms Trad said the plan was no more than a business-as-usual approach to tackling the urgent crisis facing Queensland’s greatest natural asset the Great Barrier Reef.
“This plan includes no additional money for the Reef, no new laws to protect the Reef’s precious eco system and no review of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority to ensure approvals are independent and based on the best scientific evidence,” Ms Trad said.
“The combined State and Commonwealth allocation to the Reef is $180 million which is significantly less than the $8.9Billion in Federal funding alone allocated to Murray-Darling Basin programs over the next decade.
“This plan pays mere lip-service to the key issue of climate change and its impact on the Reef, which is unsurprising considering Queensland’s Environment Minister (member for Glass House Andrew Powell) has admitted to being a climate change sceptic and Tony Abbott thinks climate change is ‘crap’.”
Ms Trad said the LNP’s plan is no more than a cosmetic response to the significant concerns raised by UNESCO.
“Queensland Labor believes the long-term health of the Reef depends on short, medium and long-term priorities including immediate action to:
- Have the Abbott Government reinstate the $10 million to Reef protection agencies it cut.
- Reinstate vegetation and costal protection laws axed by the Newman Government.
- Stop the handing over of all environmental approval powers to the Newman Government, who have proven themselves to be even worse for the environment than Joh Bjelke-Petersen.
- Ensure the Queensland and Federal Governments taking seriously their responsibility to tackle Climate Change.
“The Reef is a national icon and I think most Australians don’t trust the Newman Government with complete and unchecked power over its future.”
Sunshine Coast citizens concerned about our state’s environment can speak with Jackie Trad in person on Saturday, September 27 when the Sunshine Coast Hinterland branch of the Australian Labor Party (ALP) holds a community meeting to discuss the appalling environmental record of Campbell Newman’s LNP state government and some of the specific issues affecting our local district.
Other speakers on the day include Paul Donatiu from the National Parks Association of Queensland, Narelle McCarthy from the Sunshine Coast Environment Council and Brent Hampstead the ALP candidate for the state seat of Glass House.
Glass House ALP Community Meeting
Maleny Neighbourhood Centre, Bicentenary Lane, Maleny
Saturday, September 27, 2pm
All welcome – Free entry – Free afternoon tea provided after meeting
The Irwin family and the Australia Zoo crocodile research team have made it to Steve Irwin Wildlife Reserve, kicking off another year of ground-breaking crocodile research.
Joined by Professor Craig Franklin and his team from the University of Queensland, Australia Zoo croc experts will once again use satellite tracking devices to determine new information about the species. Past trips have taught the team that crocodiles are in-fact judicious thinkers and affectionate partners with incredible homing systems – and in 2014, the team are keen to discover more!
Set on a 333,000 acre conservation property in Queensland’s Cape York Peninsula, the 2014 croc research team will spend the next month camping in the beautiful surrounds of the Steve Irwin Wildlife Reserve. Home to many unique species of flora and fauna and dedicated to the original Crocodile Hunter, the team are eager to continue Steve’s legacy and passion for crocodile research.
The annual project has seen Australia Zoo pour more than $4 million into croc research over the past ten years, and has taught people previously unknown facts about crocodiles. It is now understood that crocs can hold their breath for more than 7 hours at a time and can travel up to 60KM in one day. This research is directly applied to Australia Zoo’s international crocodile rescue work, protecting people and crocodilians around the world.
Currently, 114 crocs on the Steve Irwin Wildlife Reserve have tracking devices. Using data transmitted by satellite back to the laboratory and displayed on Google Earth – the croc research team continue to discover new information on their behaviour, position and physiology.
Terri Irwin said she was thrilled to be spending the next few weeks on the Steve Irwin Wildlife Reserve.
“Each year we break new ground in crocodilian research, and this year is particularly exciting as it’s our first trip to the Steve Irwin Wildlife Reserve since the Queensland Government declared it safe from strip mining,” Mrs Irwin said.
“This result means that all the resources we’d been channelling into the battle to save the reserve can now be focused on other key conservation projects, such as the new GPS transmitters we are using this year to tag the crocs.
“With integrated depth sensors, these high precision tags allow us to not only track the movement of crocs, but also record the animal’s diving behaviour. They will be used to help us understand how wild female crocs select breeding locations and nesting areas, and the lengths sub-adult crocs go to in order to find new territories. These are areas that there is currently very little knowledge about.”
Crocs were Steve’s core passion, beginning formal crocodile research in 1996. The Irwin family continue his legacy each year on their annual trip to the Steve Irwin Wildlife Reserve, with his renowned capture and study techniques – the most advanced in the world, still proudly used by the Australia Zoo croc research team today.
While the 2014 trip is well under-way, and the chance for people to sponsor and name their own crocodile is gone for this year, there are plenty of other ways to help break new ground in crocodile research. For more information on how to contribute, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or phone (07) 5436 2000 today.
Stay up to date on the 2014 croc trip via daily news and photographs posted on our website:www.australiazoo.com.au/conservation/projects/crocodiles/
Sunshine Coast Council’s most recent quarterly review shows the organisation is forging ahead and achieving results in its quest to be Australia’s most sustainable region.
Finance Portfolio Councillor Chris Thompson said the April-June 2014 quarterly report, adopted at this month’s Ordinary Meeting, highlighted significant council milestones which built on the organisation’s momentum.
“There has been an outstanding commitment from the organisation and the council in relation to the efficiencies and savings from the organisational review,” Cr Thompson said.
“In the past quarter, we delivered the new Corporate Plan, setting the strategic direction for the next five years.
“We also delivered the first ever Sunshine Coast Planning Scheme, which gives the property industry, investors and residents one clear set of rules for development across the Coast.
“Staff have committed endless hours over a number of years to achieve this outcome and as we move forward, we will see investment in the region, based on this plan.”
Cr Thompson said six key Australian business leaders had joined the mayor to form the region’s new Future Economic Futures Board, which would provide expert advice to guide the council’s 20 year economic development strategy.
“The board has strong expertise in foreign and domestic commercial markets, finance and investment strategy, as well as in industry innovation, overseas market development, education and commercial communication – and all members have a connection with the Sunshine Coast,” he said.
“We also received State Government approval of the Maroochydore City Centre Priority Development Area which allows work to start on this project.
“I’m looking forward to our residents realising the enormity of this project, in that it is the only greenfield CBDdevelopment in Australia.
“We have a blank canvas – 53 hectares of land to transform into a future business centre, setting the Sunshine Coast apart from other locations across Australia.
“By themselves, each of these is a significant achievement, but all being delivered together over a three month period shows this council is focused on moving ahead.”
Cr Thompson said one of the finest achievements that made a difference to “right here, right now” was Council’s spend of $43 million with local businesses during the quarter.
“In this past financial year, council spent $169 million with local businesses, which represents 69.5% of council’s total purchasing spend,” Cr Thompson said.
“The 2014/15 budget was also handed down, council achieving a significant turnaround from the Queensland Treasury Corporation estimate of an $8.5 million deficit to an ongoing $13.1 million surplus thanks to an organisational review and strong financial management.
“As at June 30, 2015 cash balances will be $155 million, placing this council is a strong financial position.
“I can’t understate that outcome. That has been achieved through a lot of hard work and diligence to the task.
“I’m looking forward to the next quarter which will show this region remains on the move, maintaining our commitment to being Australia’s most sustainable region – vibrant, green and diverse.
Other significant achievements throughout the June 2014 quarter include:
- The new design and location of the Sippy Creek Animal Pound was endorsed by council, with detailed design now to start.
- Local Law reviews were undertaken for cat registrations and dogs in outdoor dining areas
- Council’s largest annual contract was established with the roll out of the new waste collection contract – worth almost $80 million over seven years.
- The Shoreline Erosion Management Plan and the Coastal Management Policy were adopted, providing a higher degree of clarity for council in planning and implementing coastal management programs to enhance and protect our valuable coastal assets.
- Development numbers have continued to trend favourably throughout the quarter. As a result, development activity for the financial year has been the most encouraging since 2010/11.
- The Sunshine Coast Stadium at the Kawana Sports Precinct was rebranded.
- Air New Zealand flights between Sunshine Coast Airport and Auckland started, with an extended season and increased frequency of flights.
- An offset planting at the Doonan Creek Environmental Reserve for koala conservation was implemented.
Council endorsed a new Environment Levy Partnerships Program at its Ordinary Meeting today that will deliver more than half a million dollars to 24 environmentally focussed community groups.
Environment Portfolio Councillor Jenny McKay said the program provides up to three years funding to community groups whose operations or services contribute to the Sunshine Coast environment.
“We are lucky on the Sunshine Coast to have so many community groups who work tirelessly for the environment,” Cr McKay said.
“The program provides the support these groups need to continue delivering.
“The Environment Levy is an important program assisting to protect and enhance the Sunshine Coast environment. Our community groups are important partners for council and the Partnerships Funding Program is a sensible way to support them in achieving this.
“For the first time, this year’s program included an expression of interest phase, which allowed us to sit down with groups and establish some shared goals and priorities.
“We had a huge interest in the funding program this year, and I’m confident these stronger partnerships will take us one step closer to becoming Australia’s most sustainable region.”
Coolum and North Shore Coast Care is one successful applicant receiving a three-year partnership of $23,950 per year. This group is an active and inclusive community group that undertakes activities such as turtle monitoring, dune rehabilitation, education and the management of a community nursery.
Another partner, the Mary River Catchment Coordinating Committee covers the largest catchment area in the region and was successful in receiving a three-year partnership of $66,601 per year.
This group is a well organised long-term partner coordinating with council programs and delivering catchment care in the Sunshine Coast hinterland including environmental extension in the hinterland, water quality monitoring, biodiversity investigation and monitoring, education and project support.
The $60 Environment Levy, contributed by all ratepayers annually allows council to invest further in the region’s biodiversity, waterways and foreshores, and to strengthen partnerships with the community.
|Applicant||Project||Suburb||Amount Funded per year||No of years funded|
|Barung Landcare Association Inc||Community Landcare in Action||Maleny||$47,000.00||3|
|Mooloolah River Waterwatch & Landcare inc.||Supporting the Health, Protection, Enhancement & Education of our rivers and natural eco-systems in partnership with the local community, Gubbi Gubbi Dyungungoo and the Sunshine Coast Council||Mooloolah Valley||$44,388.00||3|
|Coolum District Coast Care Group||Coordination and Management of Environmental Activities and Events 2014-2015||Yaroomba||$23,950.00||3|
|Mary River Catchment Coordinating Committee||Catchment Care in the Sunshine Coast Hinterland||Gympie||$66,601.00||3|
|Australia Zoo Wildlife Warriors Worldwide Ltd||Wildlife Food and Medical Supplies Partnership||Beerwah||$50,000.00||3|
|Yandina Community Gardens Inc.||Living Smart Communities||YANDINA||$11,600.00||1|
|Petrie Creek Catchment Care Group Inc.||Petrie Creek Catchment Care Group Extension Officer – Community and Organisational Support||Woombye||$12,672.00||3|
|Night Eyes Water and Landcare Inc.||Pumicestone Passage & Catchment Environmental Partnership||Golden Beach||$17,285.00||3|
|Maroochy Waterwatch Inc||Enabling community actions that contribute to the sustainable use and management of the Maroochy River catchment and surrounds||Nambour||$46,507.00||3|
|Twinnies Pelican and Seabird Rescue Inc||Project Wildlife Rescue Rehabilitation and Education||Beerwah||$10,000.00||3|
|Sunshine Coast Environment Council||World Environment Day Festival||Nambour||$30,000.00||1|
|Maroochy Wetlands Sanctuary Support Group Inc||Wetlands Alive||Bli Bli||$3,685.00||3|
|Wildlife Volunteers Association Inc||Rescue and Rehabilitation of Australian Native Wildlife in South-East Queensland||Nambour West||$10,000.00||3|
|Reef Check Foundation Ltd||Celebrating the Sunshine Coast Marine Environment with Reef Check Australia||Brisbane||$25,000.00||3|
|Bat Rescue Inc||Rescue, Rehabilitation and Release of Flying Foxes and Microbats||Nambour West||$10,000.00||3|
|Surfrider Foundation (Sunshine Coast Chapter)||(Part A) Marine Debris Removal from Sunshine Coast Beaches, (including, “Clean Up Double Island” Project, ) and (Part B) Marine Debris Lectures, School Education Program||WARANA||$1,500.00||1|
|Currimundi Catchment Care Group Inc||CCCG Community Environment Action||Currimundi||$16,800.00||3|
|Glasshouse Mountains Advancement Network Inc.||Preservation of the Ecology and Cultural Heritage of the Glass House Mountains area.||Glass House Mountains||$2,650.00||1|
|The Wildlife Preservation Society of Qld – Sunshine Coast & Hinterland Inc||Faunawatch Sunshine Coast||Caloundra||$50,000.00||3|
|Bunya Bunya Country Aboriginal Corporation||Indigenous Engagement – Caring for Saltwater Country on the Sunshine Coast||Bli Bli||$5,000.00||3|
|Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre Inc||Saving Native Wildlife||Eumundi||$5,000.00||3|
Third year of funding
|Lake Baroon Catchment Care Group Inc||Hinterland Bush Links||Maleny||$50,000|
|Australian Macadamia Society||Sunshine Coast Macadamia Conservation||Whole Sunshine Coast LGA||$5,000|
|Friends of Maroochy Regional Bushland Botanic Gardens Inc||A Grant to Help our Gardens Grow||Tanawha||$4,566
Koalas at Sunshine Coast Council’s Doonan Creek Environmental Reserve have been given a hand up and hand out with a $970,000 State Government offset payment.
Sunshine Coast Mayor Mark Jamieson said offset agreements attempted to compensate for the impact of unavoidable development and turn a negative into a positive.
“For every tree cut down during these developments, a new tree or trees must be planted in a suitable location,” Mayor Jamieson said.
“In this instance the Federally-funded Bruce Hwy project, connecting Frizzo Rd with Sippy Creek Rd at Palmview on the Sunshine Coast, required an environmental offset.
“Because that project area was mapped as likely to support koalas, for every tree cut down, five have to be planted in an area which could also support koalas.
“Thanks to the flora and fauna assessments that are carried out at as part of Sunshine Coast Council’s environment levy reserve purchases, we know there is koala activity on this Doonan Creek Environmental Reserve, making it an ideal receiving site for this $970,000 offset.
“Knowing what lives in our extensive environmental reserve network puts council in the best position to benefit from these unavoidable offsets and we are pleased we’ve been able to work with the State and Federal governments to achieve this win for the koalas.”
Mayor Jamieson said the funding would provide koala habitat on 9.3ha of the 252ha environmental reserve and cover costs including planning for the project, planting trees, undertaking maintenance over the next five years and land access.
Environment Portfolio Councillor Jenny McKay said the council purchased the reserve with environment levy funds in August 2013.
“Doonan Creek Environmental Reserve represents one of the most important wetland areas left on the Sunshine Coast,” Cr McKay said.
“And this site is revealing some very exciting secrets.
“Prior to purchase, council knew the 252ha reserve was home to endangered animals such as the wallum froglet and plants including the endangered Lenwebbia species “Blackall Range” and the Emu Mountain She-oak.
“The Sunshine Coast is the only place in the world you’ll find the Emu Mountian She-oak. It occurs between Beerburrum and Noosa and there are only 11 known populations in the region.
“Since then, we were excited to discover flora and fauna assessments have identified koala activity on the site.”
Division 9 councillor Stephen Robinson said this latest investment in the reserve would see the site become even more environmentally-significant.
“I’m really pleased one of the most significant areas in my division is being looked after for future generations,” Cr Robinson said.
“The next step is to develop a long-term plan for the site which may well include potential educational opportunities.
“It is through education that we can all have a positive impact on the fauna and flora on our doorstep and have a better understanding of how to best preserve and protect what we have.
“In the past year, council has purchased 400ha of environmentally-significant land at a cost of $5.7 million, including sites at Mt Ninderry, Cambroon, Ilkley and the Doonan Creek Environment Reserve at Verrierdale.
“More than 850 hectares of land has now been purchased by Sunshine Coast Council for conservation as part of its strategy to become the most sustainable region in Australia.”
Queensland Senator James McGrath and Member for Noosa Glen Elmes were present at the funding hand-over on site today.
To mark World Environment Day, Unitywater today officially launched the new Maleny Sewage Treatment Plant at a community event celebrating the completion of this $17 million investment.
The Maleny Sewage Treatment plant was officially opened by Unitywater CEO George Theo at an event attended by Director-General of the Department of Environment and Heritage Protection Jon Black, local Councillor Jenny McKay and representatives from 10 local community groups.
Interested residents had the opportunity to tour the new facility as well as Unitywater’s 30 hectare irrigated forest and wetlands, a key component of the overall upgrade project.
Unitywater is focused on investing in cost-effective approaches to treat sewage that will deliver better outcomes for the community and the environment.
Unitywater’s CEO, George Theo said the upgrade of the 32-year-old plant was an example of green engineering at its best, delivering environmental innovation and financial savings to the community.
“Compared to other options, the innovative approach we chose to upgrade this plant demonstrated savings of up to $18 million over its service life and will help to keep bills as low as possible for our customers.
“Wetlands are like nature’s kidneys, acting as filters trapping sediment and recycling nutrients. By incorporating them into the upgrade we are using natural processes of vegetation and soils to improve water quality, which is not only practical, but self-sustaining,” Mr. Theo said.
Maleny’s old sewage treatment plant was last upgraded in 1989 with the capacity to service 2000 people. The new plant, which was designed and constructed by contractor Monadelphous, has the capacity to service more than 5000 residents.
Unitywater Project Manager Andrew Mills said the new facility delivers a range of benefits to the community and environment.
“Three and a half years in the making, the new plant will help to protect the current and future health of the environment and community, while the forest and wetlands have transformed a section of an old dairy farm into an important habitat for flora and fauna,” Mr Mills said.
Unitywater worked with Sunshine Coast Regional Council, local bushcare groups and the community to develop parts of the forest and wetlands system and align them with the Maleny Community Precinct Master Plan. This includes walking tracks and planting zones for the community to enjoy.
Traditional owners of the land, the Jinibara people, have also played an active role, working hand-in-hand with Unitywater to ensure the heritage of the land was respected during construction and artefacts of cultural significance protected.
Mr Theo said Unitywater would invest an estimated $78 million in 2014-15 to support the ongoing delivery of water and sewerage services for its customers.
He said the capital works program for next financial year for the Sunshine Coast also includes the completion of the $46.5 million upgrade of the Nambour Sewage Treatment Plant in November and approximately $7.7 million annually across our service area for programs to replace meters, hydrants and valves.
“This is part of the five-year forecast spend for 2014-15 to 2018-19 which will see about $700 million invested in infrastructure needed to cater for population growth and to meet strict environmental standards,” Mr Theo said.
(Video credit – Unity Water – Australia Zoo Wildlife Hospital)
[Video]Australia Zoo Wildlife Hospital has joined forces with Unitywater to reduce plastic bottle waste in Australian waterways.
The “Get Back to Tap” campaign encourages primary school children to drink tap water rather than water from plastic bottles in order to protect turtles from plastic pollution, with a range of fantastic prizes to win.
With disposable plastic bottle waste becoming increasingly problematic for turtles, the Australia Zoo Wildlife Hospital is hopeful the campaign might help control the issue.
Terri Irwin proudly supports the campaign and the Australia Zoo Wildlife Hospital’s ongoing work in treating sick and injured sea turtles.
“University of Queensland research shows that up to 30 per cent of all sea turtle deaths in local waters are caused by plastic waste,” Mrs Irwin said.
Between 2007 and 2010, Healthy Waterways recorded a 50 per cent increase in plastic water bottle waste in south-east Queensland waterways.
Unitywater CEO George Theo said that the campaign would see students help reduce waste and support the Australia Zoo Wildlife Hospital turtle rehabilitation program, while also saving money.
“Unitywater tap water is packaging-free and litter-free, and costs less than 1c per 600mL compared to around $3.00 for the same amount of bottled water. It’s good for the environment and much more affordable than bottled water,” Mr Theo said.
All Sunshine Coast and Moreton Bay primary school students can participate in the campaign by pledging to drink tap water in place of buying bottled water for the month of July. By having family and friends sponsor their efforts, the students will raise funds for the Australia Zoo Wildlife Hospital.
Primary schools have the chance to win an in-school visit from Terri and Bindi Irwin, while the top fundraising student will win the chance to take a tour of the Australia Zoo Wildlife Hospital with the Irwin family themselves – as well as an annual pass for a family of four.
Go to http://www.unitywater.com/tap for more information on how primary school students can pledge and win!
Sunshine Coast and Moreton Bay residents can also pledge their support on Facebook to win the chance to release a rehabilitated turtle into the wild with the Australia Zoo Wildlife Rescue team. For further information, go to: https://www.facebook.com/Unitywater
[Video]SEA LIFE Mooloolaba’s animal health team today released a rehabilitated turtle back into the ocean, straight off Mooloolaba Beach for the first time.
Fondly named ‘Topaz’ in honour of the member of the public who dived in to save her, the 60cm wide green turtle has called SEA LIFE Mooloolaba’s Turtle Hospital home for more than five months after being rescued last November just off the rock wall at the Mooloolah River mouth.
With turtles normally released back into the ocean by boat, SEA Life Mooloolaba’s Animal Health Manager Emily Thomas said Topaz has been given special clearance by the Department of Environment and Heritage Protection (DEHP) to be released init the wild straight off the beach as the location was so close to where the animal was found.
The Queensland Government has called on environmental groups and organisations to stop peddling misinformation regarding the Great Barrier Reef.
Minister for Environment and Heritage Protection Andrew Powell said the deceitful campaigns are an attack on Queensland’s reputation and harmful to jobs.
“These alarmist claims are doing nothing but muddying the waters around the real threats to the Great Barrier Reef,” Mr Powell said.
“There comes a time when you have to call these organisations and groups on their scandalous behaviour.
“I am disappointed to see companies like Ben and Jerry’s signing up to a campaign of lies and deceit that has been propagated by WWF and are circulating it to our kids, to young people, to Queenslanders more broadly without first checking the facts.
“Fortunately Queenslanders are smarter than that, Australians are smarter and UNESCO is certainly smarter and will not pander to the scare campaigns that are currently being run.
“The science is clear. The greatest threats to the Reef are extreme weather events and the crown of thorns star fish and we are taking action to address those issues and improve water quality.”
Minister for Tourism Jann Stuckey said the Newman Government has a proud track record of promoting the Great Barrier Reef throughout the world.
“On any given day we have a campaign in the market somewhere around the world. Recent examples have been Finding Nemo 3D, the ‘This is our Paradise’ campaign, ReefLive broadcast and of course last night’s Australian themed Modern Family episode,” Ms Stuckey said.
“If companies like Unilever and Ben and Jerry’s invested the same amount of interest and finance in a positive campaign then imagine what it could do for tourism in Queensland.
“We have worked in partnership with operators to see this industry rebuild itself after years of neglect. Peddling these false claims will only damage a sector that is on the rebound.
“The truth is the reef is looking fantastic. The only threat to tourism and the reef is this misguided and ill-informed campaign.”
For more information, visit www.reeffacts.qld.gov.au
Audio available: https://soundcloud.com/andrewpowellmp/reef-misinformation