Blog

  • Herbicide Complacency

    Our Kuranda property was recently sprayed with the herbicide Roundup by Council workers without our authorisation. Our property adjoins Jumrum Creek which ultimately flows to the Great Barrier Reef via the Barron River. Due to the ecological sensitivity of our property and region, we initiated a formal complaint through the Queensland Ombudsman. Mareeba Shire Council’s actions and subsequent dismissive response reveals a common belief that Roundup is innocuous. While this complacency has been fostered through decades of aggressive marketing by agrochemical company Monsanto, there is mounting research suggesting Roundup is toxic not only to the environment, but to human health.

    In 2015, the International Agency for Research on Cancer classified Roundup’s declared principle ingredient ‘glyphosate’ as "probably carcinogenic to humans"[1]. The European Chemicals Agency has classified it “a substance causing serious eye damage and being toxic to aquatic life with long-lasting effects"[2]. After bitter division in 2017 the European Union approved a limited 5-year licence for glyphosate, with France declaring a ban within 3 years. Currently, more than 700 US farmers, landscapers & gardeners are involved in a lawsuit against Monsanto claiming that exposure to glyphosate caused their cancers.[3]

  • The transition to renewable energy is underway: Kuranda Paper February 2018:

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    If you like your energy clean and carbon free then you may be happy that a transition to renewable electricity is underway in Australia. Around the country a number of large-scale renewable power stations are under construction. In 2017 alone 4670 megawatt (MW) of renewable generating capacity was added to the national market. South Australia installed one of largest battery facilities in the world, providing reliable network storage. New technologies are coming online, such as solar thermal and pumped hydro that can be used during periods of high demand.
    In North and Far North Queensland, there are a number of commercial scale renewable facilities under construction, and many more in the pipeline. Construction of thecontroversial Mt Emerald Wind farm west of Walkamin is nearing completion and will have 53 turbines generating 180 MW of electricity. Two large solar photovoltaic (PV) installations are being built at Lakeland and at the old Kidston goldmine near Georgetown. Additional large solar projects are proposed for Mareeba (announced in late 2017) and at Lakeland, a pumped hydro plant for the Kidston mine, and plans for a big wind farm at Forsayth. Rooftop solar installations are also very popular, and over 18,000 homes in the region have installed PV systems.

     

  • Foe FNQ in the Kuranda Paper August 2017

    Mareeba Council Fails Kuranda Community Again

     

    At the July 2017 council meeting, it took just nine minutes for council to pass more than four motions, two of which allowed assessment of high density, rural residential developments in an environmentally fragile area (Myola Valley, Kuranda) under the old, 2004- and now superseded planning scheme.

     The high density. rural residential development applications are for the Kuranda vets' land (subdivision into approximately 48 blocks of around 2 acres in size) and the Barnwell road property (site of the ambitious and possibly fictional KUR-World project) of 176 blocks also of around 2 acres each.

    These subdivisions would not be deemed appropriate according to the Mareeba Shire Council 2016 plan, the FNQ2031 plan and the State Planning mapping (Matters of Environmental significance). Hence this extraordinary tactic of trying to have the developments assessed under the old plan, which was rejected a decade ago by the Kuranda community and eventually by the State Government.

     

  • Industrial Chemical #SprayDrift in Residential Koah

    In previous articles we mentioned the dangers associated with conventional agriculture as bores have turned up with too high levels of arsenic in Koah possibly due to the use of arsenic during tobacco farming times. Conventional farming uses many dangerous chemicals. Some insecticides, for example the much used Methomyl and Chlorpyrifos are anti-cholinesterases(nerve poisons) just like Sarin. In fact it was only after some potent insecticides were developed that armies also saw their usefulness in chemical warfare.

    It follows that keeping conventional agriculture as far away as possible from environmental values and populated areas is a safe precaution.


    What you can do:

    Ring MSC on 1300 308 461 or 07 4086 4500

    Email [email protected] 

    Ask them: "put the old 300 metre buffer zone back into the new MSC2016 plan to protect against dangerous spray drift. This will help to avoid 'accidents' like we saw in Mareeba last year, in future."

    Use social media to say Stop #spraydrift [#spraydrift is the globally used hashtag for this issue which effects communities across the world]


     

  • Pushing for Renewables

    Australia is fortunate to have an excellent daily web journal - Giles Parkinson's Renew Economy - which is professionally-written and covers the issues of climate change and energy policy in considerable detail.
    Because most of the mass media reports these issues so poorly, it's well-worth getting information on these topics from credible alternative sources.
    Normanton_solar.jpgIn fairness, The Guardian also covers climate change very well, as does the ABC. Yet the amount of disinformation in much of our mass media is horrific.
    Take the case of the recent power blackouts ib South Australia. The Turnbull Government swiftly seized upon these incidents as "proof" that renewable energy increases energy insecurity. A large swathe of the Australian "commentariat" uncritically repeated this untruth.
    In fact, the outages had nothing to do with renewable energy - see for instance Renewable energy witch-hunt continues after South Australia outage or Wind energy not to blame for South Australia power outage.
  • Bores, Arsenic, Drinking Water and Subdivision in Koah

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    FOE Questions the Subdividing of KOAH until Issues of Water are Resolved

    see Cairns Post Article Nov 19 2016

    Mareeba Shire Council continues to subdivide Koah region without solving water issues. Mareeba Shire Council is giving different messages regarding its responsibilities regarding safe drinkable water.

    Planner Brian Millard wrote to Kuranda Region Planning Group that

    “In terms of planning requirements for subdivisions outside of a reticulated water supply network, the developer must show an adequate water supply.”

    He suggests it’s up to the owners to test and treat their own water. But this appears to contradict other advice and regulations attached to subdivisions.

    It’s true that Council is not directly responsible for bore water quality. However when the Planning Department of the MSC makes a subdivision subject to potable water (“each lot must be provided with potable water”) this surely means that the water is drinkable and not just available. 

    Foe FNQ is assuming that the definition of “potable” is drinkable according to particular Standards. Who's responsibility is it?

  • Kuranda Paper November 16

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    http://www.kurandapaper.com/Issue282/Page11.htm

  • Newsletter October 2016 - What's Happening in FNQ


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    margaret -- 


    Welcome to our newsletter for October 2016. Here is a summary of what we are up to.


    KURANDA FESTIVAL

    Come and join us at our stall on Sunday 23rd October from 10am

    FoE FNQ Kuranda FestivalWe will have information and fun activities about the issues we care about

    Barron River Water Quality
    Write a letter to your counsellor asking for the water to be tested for concerning contaminants

    Residential Bore Water Quality
    Get your bore water tested

    KURworld
    Sign a petition to STOP KURworld

    Wildlife Rescue
    Donate to help Bat Rescuers

    Cassowary Keystone Conservation
    Sign the petition 

    Reuse, Reduce Recycle
    Make tags and signs to remind you to take your own bags to the shops and to stop getting junk mail.

    Do you want recycling in the Kuranda shopping areas?

    Next to us will be Sleeping Mats for the Homeless. They are also supporting plastic bag awareness. Join in and cut up and reconnect some plastic bags to make 'plarn' and crochet it into mats.

    CONTACT MARGARET to go on the roster to staff the stall :) 0403-21-4422 - or just rock up!


    BARRON RIVER WATER QUALITY PETITION

    BARRON drinking water - unknownWe do not know what is in the water that we are meant to drink. 

    The water is only tested for certain contaminants. The Barron River is a runoff for intensive farming where 1000s of chemicals are used. 

    We want to know what we are drinking.

    We want the Mareeba Shire Council to test the water for the pesticides and other pollutants that flow into our Water Supply and out to the reef.

    Click here for more information and to Ask the Council to test for Pollutants in the Barron.

    WATER-volunteer.jpg  


    arsenic_bottole.jpgRESIDENTIAL BORE WATER Found Contaminated with Arsenic in Koah area

    Preliminary testing of bores in the Koah area have found arsenic levels are above acceptable standards.

    Read more HERE

    If you want to be more involved in this investigation and campaign SIGN UP HERE and we'll contact you.

    or contact Nadine to get directly involved or to get your bore water tested.
    Phone: 4085 0054


    STOP KURworld

    Stop KURworldDisplay this bumper sticker to show your support for the STOP KURworld campaign. Collect one at the Kuranda Festival or contact us.

    KURworld ClearingThe proposed development will destroy critical links between local species' habitats - including the endangered Cassowaries and the Kuranda Tree Frog.This is just one of the reasons that Friends of the Earth are opposed to the proposed development. 

    You can watch videos and make a survey response HERE, about what you think 


    WILDLIFE RESCUE

    PRescued Spectacled Flying Fox with babyaralysis Tick Season for Bats
    October to December is Paralysis ticks season. The ticks kill 100's of Spectacled Flying Foxes every year. Please DONATE to purchase much-needed anti-toxin and to help care for the babies while the parents recover.

    Read more at https://www.foefnq.org.au/wildlife and... 


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    CASSOWARY KEYSTONE CONSERVATION

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    The Impacts of Roaming Dogs: a Video Slideshow

    "I lived with wild cassowaries as frequent visitors to my property on a regular basis for 25 years. In February 2015 a pack of roaming dogs trespassed into my home and life. The impacts were fatal for at least seven of the cassowaries I knew and loved. This is my story but not my story alone all over the the Wet Tropic wildlife is being killed by roaming Domestic Predatory Animals. WARNING some of the photos may distress.

    "Watch my story..."   Ingrid Marker


    REUSE, REDUCE, RECYCLE

    Upcycled shopping bags Make a difference at home
    At the Kuranda Festival stall FoE FNQ will have examples of goods that can replace plastic.
    Check out
    -Bamboo Toothbrushes,
    -Cloth Nappies, 
    -Bees wax wraps - to replace cling wrap

    Get some ideas for recycled craft
    Planters made from tin cans, wallets made from milk cartons, UpCycled shopping bags. 

    Remember to take your own shopping bags
    Make your own signs and tags from recycled plastic containers to remind you to take you own bags to the supermarket.
    Bring along a plastic butter container to UpCycle

    Recycling rates are UP in Kuranda due to the Recycling Station in town
    Concerned citizens had a big win and gained easier access to Recycling with a Station in Arara Street Kuranda. 

    We have had reports that the rate of recycling in Kuranda is increasing with the bins filling up quicker each week. 
    Still some people are dumping cardboard, plastic bags and household rubbish which cannot be recycled.

    Don't Waste the Waste
    Most of the recyclables in the Shire get trucked down the range to the Advanced Resource Recovery Facility with our household rubbish to go through the composting process then trucked back up the range to Landfill.  

    TAKE THE NEXT STEP!  Do you think it is about time we had recycling bins in Kuranda's shopping areas? 


    Monthly meeting and AGM

    The AGM will be held at the next meeting on November 13th at the Kuranda Neighbourhood Centre from 6pm, bring some food to share.

    Friends of the Earth Far North Queensland
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  • Chain Reaction Articles from FoE FNQ! 1/ Militarism 2/ The Reef

    Chain Reaction is the journal for Friends of the Earth Australia.

    The August 2016 edition had the following two articles written in the Far North by FoE FNQ president John Glue and Margaret Pestorius.

    Will militarism block the climate change movement?

    by Margie Pestorius

    Militarism and climate change are closely linked and joining anti-militarism to the climate justice discourse is an important move that was visible during the UN COP21 climate conference last December. It is becoming evident that militarism will block the goals of the climate change movement if these links are not addressed.

    Militarism is defined as: "The belief or desire of a government or people that a country should maintain a strong military capability and be prepared to use it aggressively to defend or promote national interests."

    A recent inquiry of climate justice activists and academics in Melbourne threw up the following connections.

    Read More

     

    Sacrificing the Reef with militarism, mining, censorship and tokenism

    by John Glue

    At the start of the election campaign Federal Environment Minister Greg Hunt visited Cairns to re-announce $50 million in new projects to boost water quality, including efforts to keep sediment, fertilisers and pesticides off the Great Barrier Reef. This re-announcement was partly to allay concerns over research showing 93% of the Reef had been bleached and dire predictions that the Reef will be terminal in as little as 5 to 20 years.

    Read More

  • The Great Artesian Basin, Great Barrier Reef, Gulf of Carpentaria and Inland Australia at risk

    The Queensland Labor Party is backtracking on pledges it made before the last election to repeal water reforms which deregulated the use of groundwater by resource companies, giving big mining operations rights to billions of litres of water without the need for a licence.