|It’s been a colourful start to the year for SCEC, with lots of action on the community engagement front. On January 24, SCEC joined the Boomerang Alliance, Surfrider Foundation and Noosa Community Biosphere Association on Noosa Main beach to send a clear message to local politicians – we want a Container Deposit Scheme on the Sunshine Coast! A recent reader poll in the Sunshine Coast Daily revealed that 96% of respondents supported the idea, with 23% of those 96% saying it should be extended to more than just drink containers. Now it is up to us to lobby our politicians to support the Cash for Containers campaign. The day was a huge success, with media showing up to catch a glimpse of Boomerang Alliance Ambassador and model Laura Wells, as well as all the team in action demonstrating what cashing in your bottles and cans looks like.
On the same weekend, SCEC hosted a suite of poetry readings as part of our Hinterland to Headland – Poetry in Place event. The weekend showcased the creative works of the Pente Poets, all of whom read original poems written for and about the Sunshine Coast. The opening event at Yandina highlighted community comradery like no other, with Yandina Scouts and Yandina And District Community Association joining in to make the evening a night enjoyed by all. There were conga lines led by Ukulele band ‘Uke Crazy People’, and a Welcome to Country performance by Gubbi Gubbi direct descendant, Lyndon Davis. All events had a great turn out, with the final event at Alexandra Bluff framed perfectly by the rising full moon. There were many comments from guests extending their appreciation for the pop-up beach-side event, and ample encouragement to host similar events more often!
The Bruce Highway Upgrade Project-Caloundra Road to Sunshine Motorway
Following the Federal Department of the Environment decision of 18 May 2015 that the project is a ‘controlled action’ requiring preliminary documentation assessment under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act) due to impacts on Matters of National Environmental Significance (MNES), the Department of Transport and Main Roads (DTMR) were required to submit further information on particular Matters – the koala (vulnerable) and Lowland Sub-Tropical Rainforest of Australia (critically endangered).
While there has been encouraging advice from Minister for Main Roads & Road Safety, Mark Bailey MP and DTMR that an improved design which “minimises impacts to the forest” (the northern portion of the Mooloolah Logging Area of the Beerwah State Forest-locally known as the Steve Irwin Way Forest) may occur through the competitive design phase currently underway, the referral is still based on the ‘ultimate’ project area which includes 24ha of this high conservation forest. Thispreferred preliminary design (of July 2015) represents the clearing of 2.52ha of the Lowland Sub-tropical Rainforest and a loss of almost 37,000 non-juvenile koala habitat trees (19.5ha of mapped koala habitat).
The proposed ‘mechanism’ to supposedly compensate for these impacts is via ‘offsets’. With the coastal lowlands of the Sunshine Coast lying within the limited geographical and specialised range of the Lowland Sub-tropical Rainforest of Australia, any loss is significant. The projected rate of probable decline of this threatened ecological community by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List is 6.8% per year. With a range of compounding threats, the ‘critically endangered’ threshold could easily be tipped, seeing this complex and important ecosystem lost entirely. With continual loss and fragmentation of habitat, the scenario for the koala (and other listed species who are also dependant on this habitat) is not bright either. It takes a range of conservation efforts to stem accelerating biodiversity decline with ‘avoidance’ of impacts at the heart of resilience and recovery of species.
SCEC is preparing its submission on this preliminary documentation primarily on the impacts on the koala and the sub-tropical lowland rainforest. However, additional concerns regarding impacts on other listed flora and fauna species remain unaddressed and will be raised again.
We will make this subsequent submission available as soon as it is appropriate to do so following its formal lodgement on the 5th of February.
The loss of such significant species by direct and indirect impacts remains unacceptable so a design which avoids the forest and delivers an overall conservation gain is still necessary.
Project information here
The ecological devastation that is Coolum Ridges and its equally destructive precursor Peregian Springs continues to cause outrage and sadness at the loss of what was once an area of outstanding biodiversity. That the latest clear-felling is a consequence of an historical development approval does not lessen the sense of loss nor temper the impacts on wildlife or natural amenity. It was and always will be a shocking legacy of poor planning.
As many of you would know, SCEC strenuously fought these approvals by the former Maroochy Shire Council in the Planning & Environment Court. Significant resources and personal efforts were invested in the appeal over a long period of time. SCEC and many others in the community knew what was at stake and what an appalling unanimous decision it was by the Councillors of the day. Ultimately the appeal was settled in late 2005 due to a number of compelling circumstances. One of these key reasons was the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU between SCEC, fellow Appellants and the developer ‘Forrester Kurts Properties’ (FKP-now Aveo). While the result for SCEC, a concerned community and the environment was unsatisfactory, the weight of this non-statutory document and the spirit in which it was entered into underpinned the settlement of legal proceedings.
Together with the court-ordered Master Plan which is still the governing planning instrument, this MoU contained important undertakings that would go some way to ensuring that environmental provisions, particularly koala protections, would be incorporated and provided throughout the development. While some of these provisions have been picked up and necessarily reflected in subsequent development approvals which sit under the Master Plan, we see a vastly different and poorer outcome than what was envisaged back in 2005. The arrogance of FKP also once again became evident when they walked away from the MoU, particularly clauses relating to community engagement and what was intended to be the environmental ‘vision’ for Coolum Ridges.
As we witness the consequences of this historical approval in contemporary times (now being dealt with by the current Sunshine Coast Council), it is clear that nothing like this can ever happen again. The community and the environment will not tolerate it. Current and aspiring Councillors would do well to heed the lessons and sheer devastation of this travesty. More information on this complex issue will be shared on the SCEC website in the coming weeks.
Climate Action… or lack of.
Today it was announced by the CSIRO that they’ll be cutting 350 climate research jobs over the next two years “to reorganise the organisation to better fulfil its mission as outlined in its strategic plan.” The decision will basically rid the CSIRO of a climate division all together creating a catastrophic reduction in our capacity to assess present and future climate change. It is understood just 30 staff will be left in the Oceans and Atmosphere unit and they will not be working on climate issues related to basic data gathering. Instead the priority will be placed on mitigation and adaptation. Removing basic climate science, including much of the monitoring of changes in the southern hemisphere, has shocked and outraged senior scientists.
Australia, with its already variable climate, has seen average temperatures rise about 1 degree over the past century. Heatwaves are also increasing in intensity and frequency, as are the number of high fire danger days, according to research by the CSIRO and the Bureau of Meteorology. The CSIRO climate models are among the best in the world and their measurements have significantly contributed to proving global climate change.
In Paris, the Prime Minister made a commitment to innovation, research and science and claimed that they are key to dealing with global warming, yet the Liberal government’s funding cuts to the CSIRO say the opposite. Read more here.
Sunday March 6th is Clean Up Australia Day. SCEC are looking to empower our member groups by contributing to their efforts during this years Clean Up Australia Day, so if you or your group are hosting an event, let us know how we can best help you! 2016 Registrations are now open. Business Clean Up Day: Tuesday 1st March, Schools Clean Up Day: Friday 4th March, Clean Up Australia Day: Sunday 6th March.
SCEC will be launching our first bicycle powered cinema event for Earth Hour on Saturday 19th March. Stay tuned for more details on screening time, location and what we’ll be showing on the big screen.
SCEC Member Cruise ** Rescheduled due to tropical thunderstorms ** The SCEC Member Cruise is now being held on Friday 25 March with the theme “Pirate Protectors of the Pumicestone Passage.” We’ll be gathering at 5:45pm for a 6pm departure. Tickets are $20 and include tapas and a drink on arrival. We only have a few tickets left so get in quick! Click here to purchase tickets and to find out more. If you already have a ticket, we’ll see you there!
The WED Festival 2016 will have a new flavour – and we’re seeking your input, ideas and involvement! To honor the great successes of previous years while keeping to our grassroots, WED2016 is taking a more refined approach and will be including all the greatest highlights identified by you! We’re even returning to WED’s early home of Cotton Tree Park. Festival veterans will remember the good vibes and inspiration shared by all way back when SCEC first hosted a World Environment Day Festival in 1979. So please email Leah at email@example.com with your favourite memories from the past and what you’d like to see and experience as the SCEC tradition of WED evolves. Let the creativity begin and the spirit of WED soar!
If you have not yet liked us on Facebook, please be sure to do so! Share our page and help us reach 3000 likes during 2016!
If you consider yourself a picture person, follow us on Instagram to see the latest photos from our events and campaigns. If you have a high quality photo from the region, or a snapshot of your group in action, send it to us and we’ll help share it with the world. firstname.lastname@example.org
Are you thinking of buying someone special flowers this Valentines Day? If so, why not try purchasing them through the Give Back Campaign. Without any additional cost to you, a percentage of your sale will be donated to SCEC. It works quite simply – all you need to do is download the app to your phone and then scroll through the participating stores. By going through the app, you will be given an option at the checkout to donate a percentage of your sale to SCEC. More details on how you can encourage big business to donate to SCEC can be found here.
Saturday 6 Feb, 6:15am – Clean Up for the Hatchlings. Surfrider will be at the Mudjimba location and Coolum District Coast Care Group at North Marcoola. Go online to register or pick another location here. Meet at the Clean Up weigh station for a Free BBQ brekky and prizes – meet at La Balsa Park from 8am. Wear closed shoes, hat, sunglasses, sunscreen and bring a water bottle.
Saturday 6 Feb, 3pm – Florabunda Pocket Working Bee,come join in for a couple of hours at the new area on the northern side of the main Rugby Oval. Best access is via the road to the back oval that turns off Laidlaw Rd, just above the gymnastics hall. If you have time, come down and see the progress, have a chat with us or better still join in. You’ll need to come in bush protective clothes, including boots/shoes and a hat. All gear will be provided, but feel free to bring your own. Norm Morwood – PCCCG CNC Coordinator, Woombye 0409 639 944.
Thursday, 11 Feb, 9:30am – Seed Savers Meeting, Permaculture Noosa. Noosa Nameste” Restaurant, 2 Memorial Avenue, Pomona. There will be lots of talking about seeds and plants, the how-to’s, the why’s and why nots. There are always questions and answers. You can also try out some seed processing or seed packaging (this is an essential support for the Seed Bank) with plenty of help if it’s new for you.
Thursday, 11 Feb, 5-7pm – ‘Climate Change – What’s in store’ Workshop hosted by Noosa & District Land Care. Rural Futures Centre, Pavilion St Pomona $10 for non-members. RSVP by Monday 8 February to P: 5485 2468 E: email@example.com
Friday, 12 Feb, 10am – Friday Environment Forum – ‘Take a walk’ by John and Lyn Daly. Noosa Parks Association. Environment Centre at Wallace Park, Noosaville. Arrive at 10am for a cuppa and the forum begins at 10:30am (finished by 12:15pm). More information here.
Thursday, 18 Feb, 7pm for 7:30pm – 9pm – Permaculture Noosa February 2016 Meeting. Theme: “The Problem is the Solution” including presentation on PCN past President Elizabeth Fekoniaher recent food experience in Africa. Cooroy State Primary School Hall, 59 Elm Street, Cooroy. Permaculture Noosa monthly meetings are held on the 3rd Thursday of each month. Beginning at 7pm with a market place where members share their surplus home grown produce and plants by giving, exchanging or selling. Ending with supper at 9pm. Gold coin donation for non-members. All welcome
Friday, 19 Feb, 10am – Friday Environment Forum – Noosa River Birds: ‘Ten years of shorebird monitoring in the Noosa Estuary’ by Jill Denning. Noosa Parks Association. Environment Centre at Wallace Park, Noosaville. Arrive at 10am for a cuppa and the forum begins at 10:30am (finished by 12:15pm). More information here.
Friday 26 Feb, 10am – Friday Environment Forum – ‘Platypus Tales’ – a short film presentation. Noosa Parks Association. Environment Centre at Wallace Park, Noosaville. Arrive at 10am for a cuppa and the forum begins at 10:30am (finished by 12:15pm). More information here.
Wednesday 2 Mar, 9-4:30pm – ‘Project Management for Not for Profit Sector’ Full Day Course. More information here.
Friday 4 Mar, 9:30-12noon – Citizen Science Forum. Free Event. QLD Museum and Science Centre Theatre, South Brisbane. More info here.
Friday 4 Mar, 10am – Friday Environment Forum – Noosa’s 1890’s Communes and their Cultural and Environmental Legacy by Bill Metcalf. Noosa Parks Association. Environment Centre at Wallace Park, Noosaville. Arrive at 10am for a cuppa and the forum begins at 10:30am (finished by 12:15pm). More information here.
Weekend of 13-14-15 May – Surfrider Foundation ‘Double Island Point Beach Clean Up’ weekend. Includes dune care, education and live music. Pack the 4×4’s and camp gear for another HUGE weekend of fun and activism. Spread the word! Book these dates in and register NOW. 13-14-15 MAY and 7-8-9 OCTOBER. Check out our promo video filmed at the October 2015 clean up here.
Free Grant Information Sessions featuring tips on grant writing for not-for-profit groups – Sunshine Coast Council
Expressions of Interest are now open for Landholder Environment Grants provide funding for projects that protect and enhance the environment. Note that only private rural landholders can apply. The project must occur on privately owned rural land within the Sunshine Coast Local Government area. Priority is given to projects with high ecological values and that have good landowner contribution. Expressions of Interest close 22 February. Click here for more information.
Just a quick note…
Be on the look out for Hygrophila costata (Glush Weed) in your back yard! It’s a Class 1 pest plant in Queensland. Noosa Land Care are working with the State Government to try an identify any outbreaks before they get established. It is semi aquatic and native to Central and South America. Glush Weed is pretty well established around Lake Macdonald in Upper Six Mile creek. SEQ Water have had an ongoing campaign against Hygrophila on the Sunshine Coast and are having good success. Noosa Land Carers would like to build on their good work by asking landowners to keep an eye out for it.
Flowers are white and occur just above the stem and leaf junction. The stem is squarish, leaves are opposite and narrowly elliptical (see picture). If you see a plant that could be this nefarious weed, either bring a sample into Noosa Landcare’s office in Pomona, or send a photograph to Phillip Moran at firstname.lastname@example.org and he’ll try to identify it!
And here’s a good news story that demonstrates the importance and conservation power of the Environment Levy.
Have a great month!
All the best from the SCEC team.