The 2009 Healthy Waters Report Card reveals a very unhealthy Moreton Bay. The State Government’s only response seems to be to ‘blame the weather’. ( C/M p.5 today, 21.10.09).
Instead the Environment Minister, Kate Jones should recognize the obvious – Greater Brisbane’s unsustainable rapid growth and resulting inevitable increase in pollution levels are to blame. Global warming forecasts mean that future weather conditions will worsen. To blame the weather is to completely miss the point and throw in the towel without a fight.
The area’s population is forecast to almost double over the next 20 years or so in accordance with current government policy. Unless drastic action is taken now, the health of our waterways will decline further.
As part of the required action, it is essential that the Bay islands, with their natural cleansing attributes, are protected and preserved to help counter the increasing pollution coming from the mainland. FOSI is presently campaigning with other organizations ( see attached ) to encourage the government to stop sand mining on North Stradbroke Island and declare the majority of the island National Park to ensure it plays its part in helping to sustain Moreton Bay.
Sand mining is very destructive and is completely inconsistent with the Government’s stated intention of “protecting and preserving’ the Island for future generations. ( letter from the Premier’s office March, 2009 can be supplied on request).
Mining on NSI has in the past caused damage to the Island’s lakes and waterways. It is continuing to cause destruction of old growth forests and complex eco-systems. This is currently occurring on expired mining leases. Peculiarly, the Mineral Resources Act permits mining to continue until the government makes a decision on an application to renew. Some of the expired leases expired up to two years ago. We are calling for applications to renew more than a dozen expired leases to be refused.
The large number of expired leases means there is now a unique opportunity for the Government to take action to ensure the future of NSI is one that helps protect Moreton Bay. Protecting the Island makes perfect sense. Any detrimental impacts on the Island directly effects Moreton Bay. One way to ensure this does not happen is to declare the Island National Park.
Saving North Stradbroke Island for today and future generations will also protect indigenous culture, secure open space, which SEQ is bereft of and secure long term employment for the Island through sustainable tourism and recreation.
Sue Ellen Carew , President, Friends of Stradbroke Island