Black-throated Finches and mining

To: brian fleming <>, "" <>
Subject: Black-throated Finches and mining
From: David James <>
Date: Thu, 20 Oct 2011 21:18:03 -0700 (PDT)
Firstly, this is an extraordinary location for the extremely rare southern 
subspecies of Black-throated Finch, inland from Emerald and Rockhampton. There 
have been no records anywhere near there for decades, and as far as I know, 
there are no other populations south of the Burdekin River. This is a very 
significant record. 
Anthea asked why can't the government stop this.
They can, but will they? The EPBC Act enables the federal environment minister 
to decline the development application due to the presence of the finches, but 
it does not entail the minister to do so.    Environmental impact assessment in 
this country is not so much about saying yes or no to a proposal; most of the 
emphasis is on determining how to proceed with the least amount of 
environmental harm. That means detailed arguments, weighing up the costs 
against the benefits, and that often becomes a value judgement. A development 
proponent might try to argue that there are no finches there (challenge the 
records) or that they are just migrants and not resident there, or that the 
loss of a small population will not harm the species as a whole, or (most 
likely) that they can manage the environment so as not to affect the finches. A 
large mining company is also likely to put immense pressure on cabinet 
ministers and opposition members to pressure the
 environment minister (sometimes the decisions are made higher up than the 
environment minister for reasons other than the EIS documents). When the EIS 
goes to public comment, there is an opportunity for counter arguments to be 
made, though of course any opponents do not have the resources, time, or land 
access that the proponents have. When the minister makes a decision in favour 
it will certainly be loaded with strict conditions, so not a simple yes . There 
is opportunity for the proponent or opponents (depending which way it goes) to 
challenge the decision in the Administrative Appeals Tribunal. I would expect 
in a case like this, if the decision was yes, a challenge would be lodged 
because of the implications that such a ruling has for protection of all 
threatened species in the future. However, the AAT only looks at merit, i.e. 
whether everything is above board and complete, not whether it is right.  It 
all takes a long time to play
Since BTFI is also listed as endangered in Qld the Nature Conservation Act and 
the Integrated Planning and Assessment Act give the Qld environment minister a 
similar opportunity to decline the application or approve it with conditions 
(though the processes differ). I believe the Bimbelbox Nature Reserve is 
managed by the Qld dept of Environment and Resources Management (if they still 
go by that name). I'd be surprised if open cut mining in a nature reserve could 
be permitted under Qld legislation. However, legislation is always full of 
clauses and loop holes. Perhaps a state significant project overrides nature 
reserves, or perhaps the NR can be deregistered. I can't think of an angle that 
would give the federal government the power to protect a few acres of Qld 
Nature Reserve, but the EPBC act is very complicated. 
John said "Yes, we need export dollars and jobs and a boost in the rural economy

No offence, but do we really need more coal mines? Sounds like economic mantra 
to me. If mining was going to save the rural economy it would surely be saved 
already. How many jobs will come, and who will get them? Not the locals, 
because there are none, probably the same big contract companies that work on 
all big mines. Where do the export dollars go? Not into farms and food 
production, not into local schools, maybe into executive salaries and 
superannuation funds, if they stay in the country at all.  Where is the 
sustainability in exponential acceleration of mining, export and combustion of 
coal? I suggest that our grand children will not be thanking us for the 
prosperity we bring upon ourselves and the unrepairable mess we leave to 

David James, 


From: brian fleming <>
Sent: Friday, 21 October 2011 2:08 PM
Subject: Black-throated Finches and mining

If the Commonwealth Govt can step in and prevent the Victorian Govt's 
attempt to re-establish cattle grazing in the Alpine National Park, why 
cant it likewise prevent mining in a Queensland Nature Refuge?

Anthea Fleming

On 21/10/2011 12:30 PM, John Harris wrote:
> My question is "Why is mining even proposed on the Refuge?" Surely the
> management authority, whoever it is has had some input into this
> proposal ................ !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
> Yes, we need export dollars and jobs and a boost in the rural economy
> BUT........
> Yours in all things "green"
> Regards
> John Harris
> Manager, Environment and Sustainability
> Donvale Christian College
> 155 Tindals Rd Donvale 3111
> 03 9844 2471  Ext 277
> 03 9844 1102 Fax
> 0409 090 955
> President, Field Naturalists Club of Victoria (FNCV)
> Past President, Victorian Association for Environmental Education
> (VAEE)
>>>> Tom Tarrant<>  21/10/2011 12:17 PM>>>
> Still haven't seen this species....
> Tom

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