A 2019 end to sand mining is supported by many residents of North Stradbroke Island.
These residents argue that a 2019 end to sand mining, as provided for in a bill drafted by the Queensland Government, will:
- Restore justice to the traditional owners of North Stradbroke Island (Minjerribah), the Quandamooka People
- Reduce the damage to the Island’s environment and cultural heritage values
- Provide certainty and allow a sustainable future to progress
Island residents in favour of a 2019 end to sand mining are seeking broader community support via submissions to a parliamentary committee inquiring into the legislation.
These residents have prepared a pro forma submission, available below, which anyone can use.
Below the pro forma submission is background information and arguments for a 2019 end to sand mining.
Closing date for written submissions is Monday 29 February 2016 by 4.00pm.
Making a submission
Concerned citizens can copy the pro forma letter, paste it into an email of your own and then email it, with your own name and address. Email your letter to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Any pro forma letter can be improved by people taking time to add personal comments. But we also know people have busy lives and detailed submissions are time consuming at the best of times. So for ease of action a pro forma letter is provided for a fast response.
A simple and fast response is to copy the letter below (between the lines) and post it into an email. Put your own name and address in the email and send it to: email@example.com
Finance and Administration Committee,
Parliament House, George Street, Brisbane QLD 4000
Dear Sir/ Madam
North Stradbroke Island Protection and Sustainability and Other Acts Amendment Bill 2015 ( Government Bill)
I write in support of the Government Bill because it will repeal the Newman Government amendments and reinstate the 2019 end date for sand mining on North Stradbroke Island as promised.
The Government Bill will restore justice to the Quandamooka People, allowing them to withdraw a costly High Court case. This legal action became necessary because the Newman Government passed amendments to extend mining to 2035 without the consent of the traditional owners.
Sand mining is destructive to the environment. No matter how good rehabilitation is, it cannot restore what nature took thousands of years to create, and it cannot bring back lost cultural heritage.
Sand mining has locked up most of the island for decades, shutting out the Quandamooka People and the general public.
Country is integral to Aboriginal culture. Specific sites have special meaning but it’s the wholeness of the land that is part of who Aboriginal people are. Given how much of the island has been impacted by mining, I want to see the destruction end as soon as possible.
By 2019, there will have been 70 years of mining on the island. That’s enough.
Two of the three mines on the island have already closed for economic reasons, with significant job losses. The economic benefits of mining have been highly exaggerated. The costs to the environment and cultural heritage have to be accounted for.
I support the reinstatement of the 2011 restricted mine path and all the Bill’s provisions that limit damage to the environment and cultural heritage.
There should be no mining in or close to “of concern” vegetation which means no mining in mining lease 1120 because it contains these threatened ecosystems. This lease was closed to mining under the 2011 legislation. Sibelco should not be allowed to change the restricted mine path for a second time, it was granted that opportunity back in 2011 and should now stick to it.
Leases closed to extraction under the original 2011 legislation should remain closed. I support provisions that ensure rehabilitation obligations are met without the need to renew mining lease tenure.
The island has outstanding natural beauty and biodiversity. It has old growth forests, wildflower-rich heathlands, lakes and lagoons and superb beaches. It’s surrounded by Moreton Bay Marine Park.
I consider a sustainable future for the island lies in the wealth of its natural features and rich indigenous culture and heritage.
I support the government’s $28 million economic assistance package for the island.
North Stradbroke Island Protection and Sustainability (Renewal of Mining Leases) Amendment Bill 2015 (Katter Party Bill)
I oppose the Katter Party Bill because it extends mining beyond 2019 to 2024 without regard to native title and doesn’t have the consent of the traditional owners. It would likely mean the Quandamooka People having to take legal action in the High Court to protect their native title rights and interests. The Katter Party Bill also allows for substantially more country to be destroyed including what the Government Bill deems ” threatened ecosystems”. The Katter Party Bill paves for a future mining extension to 2027 or 2035 should there be a change of government.
Add your own name and address
Under current legislation, passed by the Newman Government, sand mining will continue to 2035, forcing the Quandamooka People to resume their High Court challenge to protect their native title rights and interests.
There are currently two Bills before State Parliament dealing with sand mining on the island: the Government Bill and the Katter Party Bill. These two bills are the subject of an inquiry by Parliament’s Finance and Administration Committee.
The Government Bill reinstates the 2019 end date for sand mining on the island.
The Katter Party Bill would end sand mining in 2024. While some might consider this as a nice compromise, it suffers the same issue as the current Newman Government legislation in that it trammels native title rights and interests. It will mean more uncertainty and more country consigned to destruction.
The 2019 end date arose when the Bligh Government legislated an eight-year extension on expired leases. The Government saw this as striking a balance between economic needs and the environment. In other words, the compromise has already been made back in 2011.
Prior to the 2015 election, Queensland Labor promised to repeal the Newman Government amendments to restore the 2019 end date.
Aboriginal people across Australia have been at pains to explain that for them country is integral to their culture. Specific sites have special meaning but it’s the wholeness of the land that gives them identity.
There is still mapping and recording of cultural landscape to be done, analysis of archaeological sites and reconstruction of history and knowledge. It’s a race against time for Elders to get back on country and pass knowledge onto younger generations. Mining leases have blocked access for over 60 years now, and enough is enough.
The general public have been shut out too. Eco-tourism and cultural tourism opportunities have been held back.
Sand mining is very destructive. One of its effects is on the complex hydrology that underpins the island’s ecosystems. As the mine path churns through the country, it raises the water table in some areas and lowers it in others. Indurate layers which hold and distribute water in the dunes can be punctured or destroyed and, like when a plug is pulled, the landscape drains. Mining has compromised many wetlands on the island and should not be allowed anywhere near the Blue Lake catchment. Many people argue mining should have ended years ago.
The island changed the day the federal court determined Minjerribah always was, always will be Quandamooka Country. There is a new future to be embraced and new opportunities. There is also optimism and appetite to forge a truly sustainable future.
The Government Bill offers certainty. It will help unlock the island’s potential and rightfully restore justice to the Quandamooka People. It will mean less country of high conservation value is destroyed.
But it won’t succeed without strong support.
By North Stradbroke Island residents who support a 2019 end to sand mining
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