Brisbane Region Environment Council
The Draft Gateway Ports Plan includes proposals such as the full duplication of the Gateway Arterial freeway and a new freight rail line running in parallel to it; an extra 1000ha of general, noxious and hazardous industry; and for the Brisbane River mouth to be filled to a depth of at least 2.5m. We belive that 1000's of ha of bush will be affected. Other plans include a fly -in, fly -out free trade zone bringing in a huge amount of freight, increasing road and rail traffic which will cause increasing pollution. The plan also failed to identify vulnerable salt marshes in and around the Bay and to protect them as required.
The Gateway Ports Project very belatedly formed a community reference committee which has had four meetings attended by a range of politicians industry and environment groups.They have also had a series of public meetings in a number of affected areas. The consultation has come at the end of the process when most of the plan was already "decided". The Department of Economic Devleopment and Trade (DEDT) has now decided to split the reference group into two groups -the industry group and the environment group. There are about five or six environment groups represented on this environment committee.
The plan so far has failed to properly consider the full environmental and social impacts of this project. In callous economic rationalist(E-Rat) speak they talk about "engineering a 'soft landing' for the communities of Pinkenba and Hemmant", which they plan to carve up with transport corridors.
The Gateway Ports Plan is undemocratic, uneconomic and unwanted.
For information contact : River Mouth Action Group; Bayside Environment Network; BREC, BRATS
An interim Bulimba Creek catchment co-ordinating committee (B4C) has been formed. This will build on the work local groups and BREC did on a major funding proposal to the National Heritage Trust. It currently has 8 or 9 groups involved and the first task is to broaden and deepen its membership to include other community groups and industry representatives as well as local councillors and other political representatives. Its major job for the first year will be to work in with the Council catchment management plan that is currently underway for Bulimba Creek. The committee's role will be to maximise public involvement and input into the recovery plan and subsequently to assist council with monitoring implementation of that plan.
WHITES HILL - PINE MOUNTAIN RESERVE
BREC has just finished a major recovery and ecological protection plan for the White’s Hill-Pine Mountain Reserve. The plan was developed in conjunction with a community based reference group consisting of about 10- 11 community groups in the area. It was based on the premise that the majority of the reserve would be zoned Conservation. The plan's major purpose is to protect the very special vegetation in the Sankey Scrub which is very rare rain forest and vine forest remnant as well as threatened plants such as the Wedge-leaved Tuckeroo (Cupanopsis shirleyana) which is listed as Vulnerable .
The recovery plan has 2 parts: a four-page summary and a full detailed 22 page report. The report has been endorsed by all the groups in the Whites’ Hill Pine Mountain reference group and has been supported by numerous letters to the Council.
BCC is currently finalising a management plan for the reserve. The reference group members have made numerous submissions to its draft mangement plan.
Contact: White’s Hill-Pine Mountain Community Group, SCRUB, BRAIN, Queensland Naturalists .
We are now working on a recovery plans or ecological protection reports for a proposed residential sub-division in Wishart. The area involves a large area of remnant bushland which has been identified by numerous scientific studies as important wildlife habitat. It was up for rezoning into quite small blocks. BREC found out about this quite late and we put in an ecological protection report and an objection to the council. The council received a number of form letter objections from local groups. Our assessment report indicated that the land was very good glider, bandicoot, koala and other fauna habitat, while the assessment that the developer had put into the council was trying to indicate that it was a degraded remnant, often burnt out and full of rubbish. The core of the remnant, about 60% of the area, is in incredibly good condition and quite a rare occurrence of a mature forest with a range of age classes of trees and obviously quite popular with the wildlife. Currently, we believe council will approve the rezoning which is most unfortunate.
As a result of this work, we are chasing up more information on which other bushland remnants may have also fallen through the safety net.
BELMONT HILLS POOLS
The Belmont Hills Protection Group has been active in a campaign to save some unique rainforest fringed spring-fed pools in the Belmont Hills. The pools formed a refuge for uncommon species of plants and animals including a small colony of ornate rainbow fish. The area was threatened by upstream earhworks and encroachng development. Currently the threat seems less and local groups are assisting in rehabilitation work.
Contact: Belmont Hills Protection Group
The other ecological protection report we’ve written recently regards bushland to the north of Compton Rd. (north of Karawatha). The Kuraby bushland was identified as a significant remnant in the Conservation Atlas. The Bushland TaskForce while recognising it as a significant remnant, unfortunately earmarked the majority of it for development. Our field officer, Dave Gasteen, has been out there doing surveys of this remnant forest grouped around some spring fed creeks with a number of rare and unusual plants. We’ve written an ecological protection report to support the lobbying efforts of the Karawatha Forest Protection Society to have this land included in the Karawatha Park or some other urban nature park
Contact: Karawatha Park Protection Society, BREC.
The Norman Creek Catchment Committee (N4C) is negotiating use of a room at Buranda State School for a catchment centre. N4C have been lobbying for a centre for about 3 years and we’ve finally found an opportunity near Stones Corner, fairly close to the Creek. We can start pulling together resources from all the sub -catchment committees for the Norman Creek area. N4C has also applied for a National Heritage Trust grant for a part-time Coordinator and we are hoping that it will be successful. N4C is currently negotiating with DoT & BCC about the SE Transit Project's impact on Norman CK and its tributaries.
The firt stage of the creek signage project has been completed. Contact: N4C
The Oxley Creek group is moving into the review phase of its land use study plus further completion of hydrological study in the mid-catchment. It held a very successful Oxley Creek Festival and its newsletter continues to contain lots of good news which is fairly hard to summarise here.
Contact Oxley Creek Catchment Committee , Oxley Creek Environment Group.
GLIDER FOREST under threat
The Parkinson, Larapinta and Heathwood areas are highly significant and vital to maintain the viability of bushlands in Karawatha and further to the east. The 1992 Brisbane Conservation Atlas noted that this area is probably the only area in Australia where four out of the five main gliders occur together.
The BCC Office for Economic Development has played a crucial role in pushing for development of a freight rail line and industry zone in this bushland. BREC called for a complete moratorium on development, in our town plan submission, until ecological assessments of this areas outstanding natural values were done. The BCC agreed with this submission but then the OED continued to facilitate large scale development in the area.
The Greenlink Report commissioned by the Karawatha Forest Protection Society identified these areas as vital parts of a land bridge connecting Karawatha Forest and the Greenbank Military training areas as well as providing a corridor further west.
Contact: CARE, BREC
The Regional Framework for Growth Management is the overall priority action plan for the South East Queensland 2001 study. SEQ2001 is an integrated study of development pressures and what to do about them in South East Queensland. The priority actions are being reviewed by BREC in conjunction with The Sunshine Coast Environment Council and the Queensland Conservation Council. Having input to these priorities and their review is a very important because it is in these plans that the industrial plans, the freight rail plans and the residential development plans are sort of set in stone. Once they are set here the local governments are obliged to carry them on into their town plans. If we can have an effective input into this process we should be able to mitigate the residential sprawl and the industrial sprawl with a better environmental outcome. We will have future updates as these meetings progress.
At the very first meeting reviewing the RFGM we did get an in-principle agreement that we needed subregional and regional committees to facilitate public involvement in the ongoing South East Queensland 2001 process. Originally they were proposing that this role would be purely filled by the Environmental Protection Council of Queensland which reports to the Minister for the Environment. We strongly argued that this wasn’t the most appropriate committee to do this regional liaison and that they needed to press ahead and recognise some of the already existing subregional advisory committees Anyone interested in getting involved in these committees should contact BREC.
TOXIC WASTE: where to now ?
The state government has reaffirmed its commitment to close the Willawong Waste Treatment facility. If the closure goes according to plan it will be a great relief and victory for local groups who have battling this facility for the last 15 years.
The closure of Willawong is not the end of the toxic waste problem though. A facility that will use plasma arc technology to destroy PCB, DDT and other pesticides opened in August at Narangba. We understand that this facility will be receiving wastes from all over Australia. This plant appears to have opened with no public scrutiny of the proposal and there has been no EIS sighted for this project. The waste will be shipped by road through Brisbane to its destination in the Pine Rivers Shire.
The state government’s policy has been clear - they want these facilities fast-tracked and run by private operators. We believe that this represents a dangerous abrogation by governments of their responsibilities to minimise and control the production and destruction of toxic waste.
SEQ Busway/Transit project -
This project aims to provide a dedicated busway for public transport. The question must be asked why do they have to build a two new lanes, cant they use existing road capacity ? The route of the SE Busway project will have impacts for residents and the local environment. The route will slice another chunk off Toohey forest and have a huge construction impact on Norman Creek. When a DoT spokesperson was asked about the impacts on the forest he said ” that’s not a forest that’s a road reserve !” sigh
Environment Protection Act -
EPP Water passed
The Water EPP is the first environmental protection policy that has made it through state parliament. While the policy represents and improvement on current policies, it fails to go far enough and many believe that what protection it does contain will be largely remain unenforced.
Regional Open Space System review
The state government has just finished a review into the SEQ regional open space system (ROSS). The upshot of the review is that it will be renamed to SEQOS and that the former ROSS unit moves to the Department of Natural Resources. The new plan will leave it up local governments to negotiate open space arrangements using principally voluntary methods rather than acquisitions. The review also recommended that an ongoing advisory committee be established. The question of funding and coordination was left unresolved.
Contact: QCC 3221 0188
Environment Protection Council Qld
Also on the state front, the coordinator of BREC has been appointed as one of the QCC representatives to the EPCQ for the next year. This is an advisory committee to the Minister of the Environment. It advises the Minister on issues he refers to it and operations of all the Acts administered by the Department of the Environment . The Council has a very important role in the reviews and amendments to the Environmental Protection Act, the Nature Conservation Act . It also reviews the various Environmental Protection Policies, such as air , noise and mining, as they are developed .
BRISBANE RIVER MANAGEMENT GROUP
The BRMG has released the Draft Brisbane River Management Plan for public comment. It is a relatively short document of about 40-50 pages outlining some of the major priorities for the management of the Brisbane River and indicating which Government Departments will ultimately be responsible for them. This plan is a good start but we would only give it 5 out 10. It needs more public pressure to keep it moving in the right direction.
BRMG also released the first State of the River report. The report revealed what many suspected - that the rivers, creeks and catchments were in poor health and needed a major effort to rectify the problems. It is the first time this information has been put together, for the whole of the Brisbane River and all the sub catchments.
AIRPORT sale goes ahead.
The Brisbane Airport is now owned by a private operator who seems to have wasted no time in pushing ahead with industrial and commercial developments on the site. Under the 1996 Airports Bill, the airport will be exempt from state and local laws. The public will have 90 days to comment on their new 20-year master plan. We understand that they want to triple the amount of air traffic to 1000 jets per day over the next 20 years. The Airport is also considering a free trade zone and a massive air freight facility.
Contact: BREC, River Mouth Action Group
BRISBANE CITY COUNCIL
The BCC is in the process of a major restructuring , the Environment Management Branch has been reorganised under a new name of Natural Environment, a new section of the new super-department Urban Management Various functions of the branch have been moved to other areas. In 1996 the envionment management branch had over 40 staff, now it has around 17 largely involved in environmental policy and natural areas without assessment functions. We will have a more detailed assessment in our next newsletter.
BCC Natural Areas and recreation plans, love em to death, NOT
Draft prposals for Karawatha and Toohey Forests will allow mountain biking, horseriding and other damaging activities with very weak controls. The proposed trails and recreational facilities will damage and isolate rare plant communities and expose the areas to over use and possible damage. The council should protect the rights of animals and plants to quiet enjoyment of their habitat. The bushland levy was used to acquire land for bush not parks, its not called the recreation levy. . Write to Jim Soorley and let him know that the bush is for animals and plants and its a privilege not a right to have access to these areas.
Contact Karawatha Forest Protection Society, B4C.
Logan Green Plan Criticised
Logan City released its draft greening plan for the City of Logan. These plans have been long awaited and is to be the major plan to set the strategic direction for the Logan City Council ‘s plan to protect remnant bushland in the Logan area. BREC and the local wildlife groups reviewed the plan and critiqued it quite heavily . It had failed to identify significant vegetation communities on ridgelines, creeklines and other areas, it failed to properly identify linkages for those vegetation communities and it had failed to make any substantial recommendations regarding what the council should do to action the plan. Logan City Council is considering the submissions it has received and we presume some time in the future another draft or a final green plan will go before the Logan City Council.
Contact East Logan WPSQ, SRA
The BREC office has moved from the Albion Peace Centre where we’ve been for the last 6 months. The new HQ for BREC will be at the IDEAS Co-operative in Norman Park. BREC has secured a small space that we can use as our research office and information clearing house. In order to clear the chaos, we’re looking for help from members for shelving, filing cabinets and other office gear as well as access to a photocopier
Please note the new fax number for BREC is 3899 1953
and the postal address is PO Box 479, Morningside 4170.
We’re also chasing the use of a modem (14400 or better) so we can maintain the BREC home page which was developed by a group of volunteers over the last 3-4 months. It is now available, point your browsers to
It is a bit out of date but it contains all our press releases, the majority of our submissions and the minutes from the conference on South East Queensland vegetation clearing.
BREC covers the following Councils and Shires : Brisbane, Redlands, Logan, Boonah, Ipswich, Esk, Kilcoy, Caboolture, Pine Rivers, and Redcliffe.
Chair: Ted Fensom
Secretary: Brad Pimm & Jessica Buntine
Treasurer: David Jago
Committee Members: Ronni Martin
Co-ordinator: Michael Petter
Field Officers: Dave Gasteen; Lindsay Fairweather