Whitsunday Conservation Council

News from the Treetops

  Jan to Mar 2023                                                                                                          Whitsunday Conservation Council Inc

In this Edition                                                                      click on the > toggle headline to read more

So many environmental problems and so little time to turn our future around but here in the Whitsundays

YOU can make a difference – YOU CAN CALL US – and you can read about our PROJECTS and take ACTION

We live in paradise here but we may not have noticed that it could become paradise lost for the next generation.

It’s not just the broad issue of Climate Change but also the mindless stupidity of rubbish and waste, tree removal and everything you can think of, at a local level, to make our environment hotter – such as no shade, black heat-absorbing roads, excessive CO2 making concrete, reckless use of herbicides and destruction of our native flora and fauna.  Bad building designs waste electricity on heating and cooling.  Our electric vehicle take up lags behind other first world countries.

We have a relentless battle with bureaucracy and the fossil fuel lobby, who with support from the dominant media platform, control some of our politicians.

Please use the form at the foot of this page to let us know how we can help with an ecological or environmental problem.  Our team have the right contacts and can initiate projects to tackle awareness and take action.

            • Tell us what you want from us
            • You can write a blog – ask us to show you how
            • Better still, join our team and help us save this Whitsunday paradise.
Bottle Tree & plaque dedication by Whitsunday Conservation team and former mayor Andrew Willcox

Our Management Committee meets in person at least once every two months and corresponds via email and phone on a regular basis with other team members.

All committee members are volunteers and put many hours into their valuable work.  At the AGM they stand down and become eligible for re-election for the year ahead.

Our management committee members include locals with many years of experience in understanding the environmental issues that affect us in the Whitsundays and nationally.  They are all passionately concerned about climate change and the misinformation deliberately used to delay much needed changes.

Financial Members elect our management committee team to give us the strength and the ability to help make a positive change.  We have sub-committees and welcome members to take part in the many projects that we have to tackle.

So why not join them by completing a nomination form?  But hurry … lodgement closes at 5pm on Mar 8.

Group member Save Our Foreshore Inc’s (SOF) President and Secretary will be in court in Brisbane next Friday, March 10, with their legal team and experts at an Alternate Dispute Resolution ADR) conference at the Planning & Environment Court.

This is the final step before the full week of court hearing requested by Meridien’s (Port of Airlie) legal team. The ADR is basically a mediation between all parties and the ADR registrar has authority to give instructions to parties.

SOF thanks our wonderful community for the financial and moral support, which has got us this far down the long and tortuous legal road. The Fight is Not Over !

Get the details from the PEC’s website.  It will be a great evening show and a chance to catch up with people who care about our oceans.       Here is what to expect … see you there!

“Designed to mesmerise and enthral, the Ocean Film Festival World Tour showcases a 3 hour celebration of our oceans comprised of sublime footage taken above and below the water’s surface. Celebrate the 10th anniversary of this unique collection of short films from around the globe document the beauty and power of the ocean, and celebrate the divers, surfers, swimmers and oceanographers who live for the sea’s salt spray; who chase the crests of waves; and who marvel at the mysteries of the big blue.

The films feature captivating cinematography, complete with awe-inspiring underwater scenes and fast-paced wave sequences that have been captured from unbelievable vantage points.  Inspiring and thought-provoking, the Ocean Film Festival World Tour is filled with moving footage, touching interviews and insightful narrations.

Each of the festival’s films conveys a deep respect and appreciation for the world’s oceans and the creatures that call them home.”

Dale Mengel, director of NQ Environmental Health Services, is passionate about the natural environment.  He has kindly volunteered his time to lead a members only guided walk on Sunday, March 19.  Obviously this is subject to the weather.

Not a member or you forgot to renew?  Click on the red links so that you can join or renew an expired membership.

LIMITED NUMBERS and as this walk involves entering private property near Proserpine, we must ask you to contact us first by emailing admin@whitsundayconservation.org.au

We will meet near the area at 3.30pm and carpool to the site. Expect fabulous photo opportunities for birders. We’re hoping to catch migratory birds before they start heading back north on this walk. Bring camera, binoculars, closed in shoes (could be muddy), hat, long pants/sleeves, mozzie repellent, water bottle and anything else you think you might need on a 2 hour walk.

Keep an eye on your inbox for your invitation.  Don’t forget to whitelist our admin@whitsundayconservation.org.au email address in case the invitation gets spammed.

Not a member or you forgot to renew?  Click on the red links so that you can join or renew an expired membership.

We will have our usual members-get together immediately following the AGM.

The opportunity for the public to comment on a proposal is an important part of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority’s environmental assessment and consultative processes. Interested parties are invited to contact GBRMPA for more information or to make a written submission in relation to the proposal.

Here’s an extract from our 31-1-23 submission to GBRMPA:

The Whitsunday Conservation Council (WCC) welcomes the opportunity to comment on the draft policy on Fish Aggregation Devices (FADs) and Artificial Reefs in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park.

In general, we support the policy as it currently stands. Artificial reefs and FADs have no place in the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area.

The Background section of the draft policy (paragraphs 21 to 33) highlights many important points supporting this policy, particularly paragraph 25 which states, “the management effectiveness of fishing is generally assessed as stable, however, the outcomes achieved are poor. Fishing and illegal fishing are already identified as high and very high risks to Marine Park values and indicative of the need for improved management.”

Artificial reefs and FADs have proven to be very effective at concentrating fish populations, making them easy targets for both commercial and recreational fishing. By prohibiting artificial reefs and FADs, GBRMPA has taken an important step that will help fish populations recover from overfishing and illegal fishing.

Paragraphs 27 to 30 explain how the current science shows that the potential risks outweigh the potential benefits. The science cannot be ignored.

We also support that underwater artwork will be designated artificial reef and as such, prohibited in the Marine Park.

As you would be aware, artwork was introduced in the Whitsundays shortly after Cyclone Debbie as a tourism attraction. What may have seemed like a good idea at the time, has proven to be entirely ineffective and provides no benefit to the marine ecosystem.

We congratulate GBRPMA for recognising the ineffectiveness of artwork in the Marine Park and then ruling against a precedent. By doing so, GBRMPA has put the health of the Reef first and foremost.

Whitsunday Indian Myna Action Group (WIMAG) is a non-profit community action group established in August 2020. WIMAG’s aim is to create awareness, track bird movements and set up humane trapping programmes.

What do Indian Myna Birds look like?

  • Medium size, about 23 – 26 cm body length
  • Chocolate brown with a glossy black head, neck and upper breast
  • A distinctive yellow beak, eye patch, feet and legs
  • Not to be confused with native Noisy Miners and Yellow throated Miners which are mostly grey in colour.
  • In flight, white patches can be seen under each wing
  • They strut rather than hop
  • Bright blue eggs

Why do they need to be controlled?

They threaten biodiversity and the survival of native birds and mammals by reducing successful breeding:

  • Indian Mynas can have 1 to 3 broods of chicks a year, with 3- 6 chicks in a brood. They could become the dominant bird, reducing native bird, mammal and insect populations
  • Bully native birds and mammals such as parrots, lorikeets, honeyeaters, possums and sugar gliders
  • Carry mites, lice and diseases which can sicken and kill native birds. They are aggressive and outcompete native fauna for food, water, nests and hollows
  • Harass native birds and prevent them from feeding their chicks or kill chicks and eject eggs from the nest
  • Drive away small native birds which control insect populations, creating an imbalance in local flora increasing susceptibility to disease
  • Are a pest on farms, orchards and vineyards and foul water supplies. They damage fruit, vegetable, cereal crops and stock feed and spread agricultural weeds such as lantana

The Whitsunday Regional Council has a control programme in place, but more help is needed to reduce numbers and prevent a complete infestation.

Other areas, states and territories have similar groups, so if you are a visitor to the Whitsundays, please check to see if you have one at your accommodation.


For more information – Download the WIMAG brochure HERE

Apart from collecting plastic and other rubbish that we humans carelessly leave everywhere, there is a tremendous Camaraderie in Clean Up.

The two titans that we have to thank for removing thousands of tonnes of waste material are our local Eco Barge Clean Seas and Australia wide Tangaroa Blue Foundation.  Both of these wonderful organisations are featured on our We Care page.

  Please check these logo links now for news and clean up dates in your area

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 at 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.  Many thanks.