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Centre Report March 2014

Centre Report

Angelika Ziehrl, Director

Introducing myself

I joined CAFNEC as Director in early January this year. Throughout my career I have worked to implement conservation and sustainability objectives, including by working in sustainable agriculture research, environmental assessment of activities and with the wild rivers policy. I believe strongly in maintaining the integrity of ecological systems and the natural values and processes of the complex and beautiful environment that sustains us.

After two months in the position I can say that in the current environment this is a challenging space to be in, but also exciting – what we may be able to achieve together.  I have been received by many wonderful people with openness and high expectations and aim to do the best I can in my role with CAFNEC, toward conserving our environment for the future.

Welcome back readers!!

I would like to thank each and every one of our members, readers, supporters, donors, volunteers and community members that not only enable CAFNEC to function each year, but keep us informed on what is happening, provide information and articles and lend a hand when it is most needed. Without you we could not do this!! I thank also our wonderful staff and management committee that work tirelessly with the aim of supporting our community in valuing the natural environment.

Currently the threats facing our region’s environment are many and diverse and no single organisation or group has the capacity to work on all the issues. CAFNEC, as are other organisations, is aiming high at working effectively and collaboratively with as many groups and conservation organisations as possible to share the work and achieve the best possible outcomes. We will need your ongoing support and effort to do this.

Some updates….

Flying foxes

The Cairns Regional Council (CRC) intends to disperse the flying fox colony from the trees near the library and the Novotel Resort in the Cairns Business District (CBD). Council have received a ‘Referral Decision’ from the Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities for dispersal actions based on ‘modifying’ the trees to reduce roosting ability. Proposed timing of these actions is to be outside of the breeding season (approximately May – July). An officer from Department of Environment and Heritage Protection will be making the call on breeding status. The permit clearly states a number of restrictions including on the amount of trimming of trees included in the Cairns City Library heritage listing. However, the stress of these activities on the colony is unlikely to have a ‘positive’ outcome for anyone.

Dispersal attempts at other locations have often resulted in extreme costs and tree trimming alone has been shown to have limited effect, particularly for a long established colony. Some of this information is included in the CRC commissioned report ‘Cairns Spectacled Flying Fox Colony – Relocation Plan’ itself. One review of past dispersal attempts (Roberts, B. and Eby, P. 2013) showed that in approximately 63% of cases, animals moved less than 600m from the original site. Contact CAFNEC to see what you can do to try to stop this!

 

AQUIS resort

The status of the proposed AQUIS resort for Yorkeys Knob is constantly changing. It started as a Yorkeys Knob proposal that included the requirement of an Environmental Impact Statement as part of the development assessment process, together with a casino license.  In October last year Premier Campbell Newman announced an offer of up to three additional casino licenses for Queensland. This provided a definite option for AQUIS proponents, but bidding for the licenses is no doubt strong. As a ‘safeguard’ measure, the proponents then made a takeover bid for the Cairns Reef Hotel Casino. Mr Fung and his son have now withdrawn a bid for the integrated resort development licence and take Newman’s suggestion to split the casino licence.

From the outset, community has raised many concerns on the social and environmental impacts and lack of information on economic feasibility. In the ‘negotiations’ over licenses – where is the economic impact analysis or even a discussion or consideration of the economics for the region, rather than simply a statement that it is good for the region? Where is the discussion about social impact? What happened to assessing the environmental impacts before all this is a done deal? A brief background can be found at https://cafnec.org.au/2013/12/proposed-aquis-development-raises-concerns. To voice your concerns or find out more, visit www.aquisaware.org.

Stories inside to inform you on threats to the beautiful Great Barrier Reef, Cape York and much more….

Permanent link to this article: https://cafnec.org.au/2014/03/25/centre-report-3/