Whitsunday Conservation Council

News from the Treetops

  Sep & Oct 2021                                                                                                              Whitsunday Conservation Council Inc

In this Edition

Whitsunday Conservation Council’s (WCC) new Green Room at the Lions Airlie Markets was launched on Saturday September 25th, with a visit from Mr Sam O’Connor (third on left) Member for Bonney (LNP) Shadow Minister for Environment and the Great Barrier Reef, Shadow Minister for Science and Innovation, Shadow Minister for Youth.

Mr O’Connor showed great interest in the work that environmental volunteers are doing in the Whitsundays.  Volunteers were able to discuss environmental issues with him in a positive light and in a relaxed setting. 

The session was very productive and he was keen to hear about alternative uses for coal, such carbon fibre technology and battery production that can be started in our region.  Transitioning to cleaner energy has a bright future here because we can produce valuable components in the new technologies that have already been started overseas.

The Whitsunday Heart of the Reef Discovery Centre is another WCC initiative and he watched a video presentation on this.  The project would provide local jobs and become a major drawcard for tourism.

The Green Room plans to host more interaction between key players in our environmental future and concerned people in the Whitsunday region.  Dialogue can lead to awareness and consensus for a better future.

The Green Room operates on the last Saturday in each month, weather permitting.  It is double the size of a normal tent and allows for limited seating to watch environmental videos and have a chat with volunteers from different organisations, which include Eco Barge Clean Seas, Fauna Rescue, Fight for Airlie, Whitsunday Catchment Landcare, Mackay Conservation Group, Order of Underwater Coral Heroes, Save Our Foreshore, Tangaroa Blue Foundation, Whitsunday Organic Community Gardens and Whitsunday Seagrass Volunteers.

These wonderful people really do care for our local environment.  They each focus on specific tasks but together they make a formidable force to protect and preserve our precious environment.

We need them and they need you, so please visit https://www.whitsundayconservation.org.au/we-care/ for more information.


On Sunday 15-08-21, the Whitsunday Conservation Council held its first Members Get-together at the Whitsunday Organic Community Gardens, at Galbraith Park Cannonvale, behind Centro.

Despite the showery weather, there was a good turn-out with around 20 people attending.  Dave Young, who took the photo, provided an excellent guided tour of the re-vegetation undertaken by Whitsunday Catchment Landcare in the park.  He discussed the history of the project and the strategies used to successfully restore the native bush that is essential to our wildlife, as well as securing the creek banks against serious soil erosion in the wet season.

Jenny Greig provided an eye-opening tour of the Whitsunday Organic Community Gardens and discussed its many interesting edible and useful plants.  

The Queensland Government has developed the draft Queensland Organics Strategy 2022–2032 (Strategy) to propose how we can reduce the amount of organic waste that goes to landfill and look at other ways to avoid, reuse and recycle.

Organic waste includes garden, food, food processing, bio-solids and agricultural wastes. It makes up around half of what Queenslanders throw away each week in their wheelie bin and is one of the main types of waste sent to landfill.

Although organic waste is often seen as ‘natural’, when it breaks down it releases methane, a greenhouse gas that is at least 28 times more potent than carbon dioxide.

Some of the organic waste produced by Queensland homes and businesses is already being converted into new products including soil, potting mix and mulch. 

The Queensland Government wants to hear from you.

Government, industry, businesses and community members all have a role to play in managing organic waste. That is why we want you to have your say on the draft Strategy.

Take this short survey or email your feedback to ResourceRecovery@des.qld.gov.au.

Consultation closes at 5:00pm on Monday 1 November 2021.

More information is available on the website.

It’s finally arrived and, in a few things, the Whitsunday Regional Council have listened to us.  However, what happened to caring for the Great Barrier Reef?

It is so important that people express their opinions to council and this is a council sanctioned way.

Such a shame that they do not do a survey on high rise, which threatens our unique image as a lifestyle Mecca.

Look for “6    Are there any other issues you would like to raise?”  We’re sure you can thing of some!

Do the SURVEY HERE and let them know.  Survey closes 5pm 31-10-21.

Whitsunday Conservation Council continues to push for better protection for our endangered turtles and dugongs through the implementation of a go-slow zone over the sea grass meadows Pioneer Bay.

There is not much to report on the official side as at the end of September.  The Whitsunday LMAC is yet to have its first meeting and this is the forum where we are hoping to progress this proposal. We are looking forward to November, when we can discuss the idea with the representatives of the relevant government agencies and we’ll see if we can get the ball rolling.

In the meantime, Johnny Gaskell has provided some fantastic images that show why we need to create a ‘go-slow’ zone over the seagrass meadow at Pigeon Island. These drone images, taken over the shallow intertidal area near Pigeon Island, show just how much marine wildlife activity there is over just one weekend. Unfortunately there was also quite a lot of ‘too close, too fast’ motorised traffic in the same area. Many thanks to Johnny for these images.


Clockwise from top: turtles feeding, spring – when a dugong’s mind turns to … , dugong mother & calf, 2 dugongs & calf,  dolphin mother & calf, 24 turtles circled .

The Whitsunday Regional Council has strongly supported our proposal for a Whitsundays Heart of the Reef Discovery Centre (WHRDC) by including the project in their Economic Development Draft Strategy paper. To be put out for public comment shortly, council will be looking for community comment so be sure to check it out and have Your Say.

Mayor Willcox stated in last weeks Whitsunday News that the Draft Strategy paper will be available in some local shopping centres from a pop up store or can be checked out online. 

Presentations of a Strategic Outline for our WHRDC proposal – a state of the art facility interpretation centre for the Great Barrier Reef to be based right here in the Whitsundays – have met with resounding success following a dozen or more presentations to the community over the past few months including schools, Whitsunday Charter Boat Industry Association, Coral Sea Marina, Whitsunday Coast Chamber of Commerce and the Tourism Whitsunday Board.

WCC has also presented the proposal at their monthly market stalls in Airlie Beach and to date have collected 254 signatures from locals and tourists registering their strong support for the concept.  You can view details of this presentation HERE.

The centre will provide a strong edu-tourism focus for the Whitsundays attracting school age through to tertiary students. It will also be a citizen science hub for the region where volunteers can become involved in multiple projects aimed at conserving the Great Barrier Reef.  

WCC Vice President Dr Lindsay Simpson, with WCC Secretary Faye Chapman and WCC member Jonathan Peter, form the WCC sub-committee promoting this project.

“There are so many great contributions from volunteers – citizen scientists – already in our community contributing to important research on all sorts of topics such as seagrass; marine debris; turtle health and coral restoration. The idea is to showcase their projects – as well as helping to enlist more support for the contribution they make to the conservation of the Great Barrier Reef,” Dr Simpson said.  “The Centre does not aim to replicate Reef HQ Townsville, which is the world’s largest living coral aquarium but instead focus on the reef from its inception to now and the important role of Traditional Owners, the sea-going Ngaro people. The centre will highlight all the challenges the Great Barrier Reef faces including climate change and encourage everyone to jump on board to help confront these challenges.’’

Matters of Local Environmental Significance is a new council imperative under legislation. We have already received input from many members of the community. MLES are not covered by state or federal legislation but are essentially things that are important to the community- and that includes a sense of place and well being. So if you know of places, plants, vistas, wildlife habitats please share with us so we can get as comprehensive a submission as possible. In recent weeks we’ve seen the loss of more trees important to locals and Black Cockatoos for food, that might have been protected.

Here a two examples to show that it doesn’t have to be a 200 year old tree. 

Example of urban woodland Cannonvale TAFE

Stand of iconic mature eucalyptus under threat, close to roadworks Shute Harbour Rd Cannonvale
On the wildlife front, we’re now into early baby bat season.  
Black Flying Foxes are the seed distributors and pollinators of our forests, so we really need them.  Babies born to these flying mammals hang on for dear life, tucked into a special area under mum’s armpit where they suckle during flight which can be as much as 50km a night. Sadly sometimes they can get dropped or mums are injured on barbed wire fences or electrocuted on powerlines. 
The size of a small bird, baby bats might found be crying in the grass in gardens. Or if you see a bat hanging on barbed wire, the baby could be on the ground.  A target for green ants and crows/hawks, if found soon enough, Fauna Rescue Whitsunday has trained carers who can raise them to release as young adults and join their colonies again. Please call the Hotline on 4947 3389. 
You can safely pick up wearing garden gloves and with a small towel and move to safety while a rescuer is found.  Please do not touch if still on a mother.  
Photo courtesy of Dave Pinson, Flying Fox Handbook
SAT MARKET STALL: As you are probably aware, WCC conducts a market stall the last Saturday of each month at the Airlie Beach Lions Community Markets.
Not only could you come to visit with us, you too could be part of our team giving information about various projects to the inquiring public and helping raise awareness of issues affecting both our land and marine environments.  Not hard work on the job training provided though sometimes it can get just a bit too windy! Only job requirements, a smile and to enjoy talking with people.   Just 2 hours of your time between 0700 – 1200.
BUT there’s more:  If you enjoy a crisp, dark morning slowly breaking into a glorious day as the sun rises over Mandalay.  Then have we got a spectacular volunteer job for you!
MARKET STALLHOLDER PARKING:  With the generous provision by Whitsunday Sailing Club of their land adjacent to Port of Airlie, WCC supervises parking for stallholders.  Set up 0500, gates open to vehicles 0530 and are closed again 0800.  We return again at 1230 to open the gate for vehicle exit and close it again at 1400.
After conducting this activity for several months,  we do have three experienced supervisors but they do need another person  to assist them supervise entry to the carpark. 0500 – 0800.
Yes, it is an early start, but this activity is an important part of WCC’s fund raising, so if you’re usually up and about at 0500 Saturday mornings and want to help, please contact WCC asap.
And wow, we do get to see some awesome and sunrises and rainbows!

If you are like most people, you probably put renewal notices in the “do later” folder and hope that it takes care of itself. 

The subscription is either too much so you decide not to renew, or too little so you feel you can’t be bothered and that it won’t make any difference anyway.

Have a look our Treetops webpage and go to the bottom of the list to find Charlie Pickering takes on Alan (cash for comments) Jones over his famous “grain of rice” Australia is too small to make a difference on climate change.

Each subscription to WCC is like that grain of rice, not just in monetary terms but in terms of building an effective force that will get your voice heard by governments at all levels.  We ask only for a $1 but having you as a member makes us a million dollar force for environmental awareness.

But there is more to it.  The federal government makes it hard for charitable environmental organisations to exist in Australia.  We are bogged down in red tape and membership numbers is one of them.

So please, make your membership worth a million dollars and renew as soon as you get the renewal notice.