Tuesday, October 20, 2020
Home Business Conservationists take Clive Palmer to Court to Save Queensland’s Bimblebox Nature Refuge,...

Conservationists take Clive Palmer to Court to Save Queensland’s Bimblebox Nature Refuge, but Citizen Action is Also Needed

Visitors to the Bimblebox Nature Refuge website will notice a heartfelt plead welcoming them; ‘Help save Bimblebox’. Every good story needs a villain. This time (and not for the first time) it’s Clive Palmer

The Bimblebox Nature Refuge, a well-beloved Queensland gem, is facing its toughest challenge to date. It was purchased by private individuals in 2008, when Queensland’s land clearing rates were amongst the highest in the world, in order to save it from a grim fate. Now, after 12 years of peace, it is again threatened – this time by mining mogul and billionaire Clive Palmer.

Palmer, currently accused of trading while insolvent and of other corporate misgovernance allegations by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission, has an abysmal track-record in Queensland’s Galilee Basin;

Besides this new initiative, Palmer is also currently seeking approval on a monstrous coal mine 3 times bigger than Adani’s, called Alpha North. If Palmer is successful in his bid, he would construct the mine on a conservation area for the endangered black finch. And let’s not forget Palmer’s now-bankrupt nickel refinery, Queensland Nickel, which caused several major spills and leakages that harmed the Great Barrier Reef and surrounding territories, the latest one in 2018 (3 years after it shut down).

Queensland Nickel’s negligence is not just environmental; maintenance issues and safety incidents and accidents kept piling up long before it was closed, say ex-employees. Documents attained by Workplace Health and Safety Queensland mention dozens of unattended breaches.

Now, Palmer’s company Waratah Coal wants to build another mega-coal mine on the lands which today are home to the Bimblebox Nature Refuge. Its current owners claim that even though they own the land, they are still vulnerable, as “protected areas that make up the National Reserve System are not automatically protected from mineral exploration and mining, which in Australia are granted rights over almost all other land uses”.

Unluckily for the Bimblebox, it is the first protected area to face the threat of mining to the degree proposed by Waratah Coal’s proposed mine. President Paola Cassoni says the important of this case goes beyond their small protected area, and will “serve as a test case as to whether the Queensland State and Australian Federal governments are willing to alter outdated legislation so that conservation values are considered to be at least of similar importance to the state as large mining projects”.

The QLD Environment Department itself had advised in 2011 that proposed clearing on Bimblebox Nature Refuge for Clive Palmer’s Waratah Coal mine would kill about 35,880 birds, 13,570 mammals and 780,000 reptiles. “We will fight to save this invaluable island of remnant woodland,” Cassoni said in a statement. “We cannot stand by and allow the trashing of nature for coal.”

Queenslanders have shown their support for the Nature Refuge on social media since the announcement. Many protested the proposed mine, calling leaders such as Premier and Minister for Trade, Annastacia Palaszczuk, Minister for State Development, Manufacturing, Infrastructure and Planning Cameron Dick and Minister for Natural Resources, Mines and Energy, Anthony Lynham for immediate action.

Nature
The QLD Environment Department itself had advised in 2011 that proposed clearing on Bimblebox Nature Refuge for Clive Palmer’s Waratah Coal mine would kill about 35,880 birds, 13,570 mammals and 780,000 reptiles.

Greenpeace Australia, GetUp!, March Australia, Green MPS and many other groups, including local organizations Stop Adani and Galilee Blockade, have called on state officials to deny Palmer’s application and save the Bimblebox Nature Refuge, supported by citizens.

David Morris, CEO of The Environmental Defenders Office, is acting for the Bimblebox owners. He told The Guardian that the project would destroy about half the nature refuge. “The project consists of two open-cut pits and four underground mines that will totally destroy roughly 50% of the nature refuge and cut underneath the remainder, leaving it in ruins,” Morris said.“It will have a huge impact on local graziers and destroy a private conservation reserve that is one of the largest tracts of intact woodland in Queensland and home to hundreds of species, many of which are rare or endangered.”

Local farmers have concerns as well; the use of 768 billion litres, or 768 gigalitres, of groundwater over its 30-year lifespan of the proposed mine, equating to one-and-a-half times the volume of Sydney Harbour. “When you’ve lost your groundwater, you’ve lost it. It doesn’t matter how many make-good agreements you sign, you’ve lost it,” added Paola Cassoni.

Many are wondering how the state of Queensland could allow Palmer to run another mine in the region, especially considering that the Townsville City Council is taking legal action against Clive Palmer’s companies QNI Metals Pty Ltd and QNI Resources Pty Ltd as we speak, seeking more than $2.5 million from the billionaire. Palmer has apparently not paid rates and charges relating to land where Queensland Nickel’s Yabulu refinery sits and to another property since 2016.

“Not only is this frustrating, it is also unfair for the thousands of other land owners across Townsville who paid their rates and water charges as required, including those who paid despite their property suffering damage in the devastating monsoon event earlier this year,” a council spokesman has said.

Nature
The Bimblebox Nature Refuge, a well-beloved Queensland gem, is facing its toughest challenge to date.

Other Palmer debts, such as to the Port of Townsville, Aurizon, Queensland Rail and the state (for over $60 million paid to the workers of QNI from taxpayer money), also remain unpaid.

ALSO READ: Regular Visits to Museums and Theatres Can Help you Live Longer: Study

A court hearing in the matter of the Bimblebox Nature Refuge has yet to be scheduled. Concerned citizens can still object via phone, email or official form, lodging complaints with the Department of Natural Resources and Mines (DNRM) and the Environmental Authority.

 

STAY CONNECTED

19,120FansLike
362FollowersFollow
1,782FollowersFollow

Most Popular

1 in 3 Indian Call Centres to Permanently Switch to Work From Home

Signalling the future of work in the pandemic times, nearly one in three call centres (27 per cent) in India will switch permanently to...

Here’s How You Can Improve Both Physical and Cognitive Health

Daily exercise, along with nutrient-enriched beverages, can do wonder with improving both physical and cognitive health, researchers have discovered. While exercise alone improved strength and...

Microsoft Set to Release New AI-Based Noise Suppression Tool in Teams

As more and more people work from home and at times have no control over jarring sounds in the background, Microsoft is set to...

Why President Trump and PM Modi are so Fiercely Opposed by the Left and Islamists

By Maria Wirth “Í prefer Trump to Hillary”, I told a German friend in the run up to the US elections in 2016. There was...

Hackers Imitated Microsoft the Most in Q3 2020: Report

Hackers imitated Microsoft the most to lure people into giving up their personal data or payment credentials in the third quarter of this year,...

Clearing a Forest to Grow a Forest in Order to Overcome Delhi’s Pollution

By Rahul Kumar It is that time of the year again-when the weather is pleasant but the city is polluted. Air quality has shown a...

Marijuana May Help Reduce Lung Inflammation Linked to Covid-19 Death

After reporting earlier this summer that marijuana ingredient cannabidiol, or CBD, may help reduce cytokine storm and excessive lung inflammation linked to Covid-19 deaths,...

Uber Introduces Masks Verification Selfie Policy

Ride-hailing major Uber on Monday introduced a new safety policy which will request riders, who have been tagged for not wearing masks on a...

Recent Comments