Black-throated Finches and mining

To: ? birding-aus <>
Subject: Black-throated Finches and mining
From: Peter Ewin <>
Date: Fri, 21 Oct 2011 16:40:45 +1100
Following on from David's comments, the best way to get the details is look at 
the documentation. Those associated with the EPBC referral are here:
The actual EIS is here:
This is a large document so the relevant details may be Section 6 of Volume 2 
(Terrestial Ecology) and Sections 10A and 12A of the Appendices (I suspect this 
will argue the values of the habitat).
Looks to me like an incidental record (rather than during formal surveys) so I 
am not going to provide any comments either way (I have to do this enough for 
work in NSW) but could be some interesting discussions. However, a quick glance 
appears to suggest that they might have been seen at both the mine annd port 
sites? (this is in Section 2 Volume 4 as well).
I don't know about legislation in Qld regarding reserve tenures, but mining 
would not be allowed in a Nature Reserve (gazetted under the National Parks and 
Wildlife Act) though if there was mining interests in the first place the 
reserve may be made a State Conservation Area (though not certain about open 
cut mining in these).
I guess the project is open for public comment, so if you want to provide 
comment, the links above (and those provided earlier) may help you do this.

> Date: Thu, 20 Oct 2011 21:18:03 -0700
> From: 
> To: ; 
> Subject: Re: [Birding-Aus] Black-throated Finches and mining
> 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
>  out.   
> 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
> BUT........"
> 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 
> them.    
> David James, 
> Sydney
> ==============================
> ________________________________
> From: brian fleming <>
> To: 
> Sent: Friday, 21 October 2011 2:08 PM
> Subject: Re: [Birding-Aus] 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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