The newly formed Wide Bay Burnett Environment Council has commenced operation this week. The Maryborough based group will deal with environmental issues across the entire Wide Bay Burnett Region but will focus primarily on impacts from mining and CSG, sustainable water use and protection of terrestrial and aquatic biodiversity including threatened species.
The Queensland Lungfish is of particular concern for the group as there is a question mark over the future of the species following the significant flood event in January 2011at Paradise Dam, which is believed to have resulted in the deaths of up to 1000 of the unique species.
Roger Currie, WBBEC President is concerned that the lack of accurate data is hindering the ability to effectively plan for the protection of the species under the Burnett Basin Water Resource Plan. Mr Currie said, 'SunWater is obligated under the Environmental Protection Act to report all fish kills to DERM and to date they have refused to do so. This company is a corporate entity of the state government therefore we expect that it should operate under the same guidelines as a government department. SunWater is behaving as though they are a law unto themselves but the simple fact is that they are required by law to provide this data to DERM or they are in breach of their operating conditions under the Burnett Basin WRP.'
WBBEC Representative Emma-Kate Currie is calling on DERM to fulfil their obligation to protect the species by forcing SunWater to provide the data. 'It is now October and there is simply no excuse. This is a federally listed threatened species and in order for both the State and Federal Governments to fulfil their obligation to protect the species, they must have accurate and up to date data on both the spawning and mortality of the species. If it is revealed that a significant fish kill has occurred as a result of the spillway design, then both the State and Federal Governments must immediately address and rectify this issue before another flood event occurs', said Miss Currie.
The Queensland Lungfish is endemic only to the Burnett and Mary River’s in South East Queensland and is believed to have existed 100 Million years ago.
For more information, see the WBBEC website.
For more information on Wildlife Queensland's activities, call us on +61 7 3221 0194 or send us an email.