Friday, 7 October 2005
State Government shouldn't help Brisbane "Water Pirates" to mine Moreton Island National Park
The recent announcement by the Minister for Natural Resources that he would not stand in the way of Brisbane City Councils water-mining plans for Moreton Island, has been condemned by the Brisbane Region Environment Council.
"The decision is short sighted and sets a bad precedent for the protection of National Parks" said Michael Petter Coordinator of the Brisbane Region Environment Council. "The environment is once again having to pay for our extravagant lifestyles and bad planning."
The water resources of Moreton Island are one of the biggest remaining sources of freshwater for the Bay. While it is government policy that the environment should receive a water allocation, no such allocation has actually been defined or protected in South East Queensland. To make matters worse the State Government has exempted urban water use from the moratorium under the Moreton Water Resource plan.
"What we are seeing is the removal of water to sustain the environment before any benchmarks are set or environmental flows protected. The water flows from Moreton Island play a big role in the water quality, ecosystems and other values of the Eastern Bay. Water mining on North Stradbroke has already changed the water table and vegetation around the borefield and altered other flow patterns on the island. The potential for saltwater intrusion remains" he continued.
"We believe that Brisbane can survive this long drought without pillaging protected areas. Backyard swimming pools and lawns are not worth more than our precious Moreton Island and Moreton Bay. This is another in a series of decisions were the State Government has shown itself unwilling to protect Moreton Bay or the Bay Islands. The Brisbane City Council is shirking its responsibility to curb water use in line with available supplies and is looking for a quick fix by pinching an important environmental flow in the middle of a drought" he concluded
The Ngugi Traditional Owners Association has also condemned the decision. "The decision is wrong. We don't want them interfering with any water on Moreton Island," said Uncle Cliff Campbell a Ngugi Elder.
The Brisbane Region Environment Council is calling on the State Government to insist on effective and adequate demand reduction before any discussions are had about allocations of more water from existing environmental flows. The Government needs to stick to government policy and ensure that National Parks are fully protected.
For More Information
Michael Petter Coordinator BREC 39015577 or
Shane Coghill Traditional Owners Coordinator 39015577