Thank-you Russell Woodforde for urging people to write to the appropriate
politicians about Queensland's vegetation clearing controls.
I have spent the past two days compiling lettters to the Prime Minister, John
Howard, and to the Queensland Premier, Peter Beattie, and have obtained over 65
signatures so far on a petition. However, this is not enough.
Unfortunately, I am in a situation where I use a Government email system
(because I work for a Govt. department), and cannot go against the organisations
bureaucratic guidelines to mass-email a petition to all of you. The next best
thing I can do is to urge you all to spend a little of your time, and write to
the politicians yourselves.
I have also drafted letters to the editors of seven different national, state
and Queensland regional newspapers. Keep an eye on the media over the next
couple of weeks. This issue is hotter than ever, and unfortunate as it is,
widespread flooding is now occurring over much of Queensland where clearing
could potentially occur. Gee, what a pity!!.
To help some of you who are keen to write, I may suggest some avenues for
1) Search the web. Good sites include: Aust. Conservation Foundation at
ABC Rural News at www.abc.net.au (landline)
Murray Darling Basin Commission at www.mdbc.gov.au
National Landcare Program at www.landcare.gov.au
Natural Heritage Trust at www.nht.gov.au
All of the above web sites provide various facts and figures, including figures
for land-clearing, current rates of clearing in terms of a worldwide
perspective, recent comments from the graziers and politicians etc.
2) Keep the letters short and simple. Get straight into the facts. Really
emphasise the fact that if the Federal Govt. fails to provide compensation
monies, and the Beattie Govt. fail to implement clearing controls, then their
Governments will spend more in the long-term (funding environmentally degrading
processes) and they will be seen as not keeping their election promises, at
promises made at International Greenhouse target conventions etc.
3) Just because many of you live at the other end of the nation, it doesn't
mean it should not concern you. Living in central Victoria, I am miles from the
'impact zone', but bet your bottom dollar than I, or my children (when I have
them!!) will suffer the consequences. One would think that the biological,
ecological and socio-economic impacts of past injudicious clearing would serve
as sufficient warning to the Queenslander's to halt the clearing. Sadly, this
is not the case. They are only concerned about their short-term farming profits
and nothing else.
For those of you who are members of Birds Australia, and read the newsletter
Wingspan, take a look at the last (December 1999) issue for the article on the
Aust. Bird Count. Have a good look at the areas on the maps of Australia
(shaded yellow, red and orange). Where do all of the Grey Fantails go in summer
and autumn if they are not in great numbers in Victoria? Where do Dollarbirds
'hang-out' in summer and autumn? Where do numerous species of migratory
woodland birds go at certain times of the year? Many go to the woodlands of
Queensland, or should i say, did go to Queensland. In the years 1998/99, I saw
a total of 424 Rufous Whistlers at 12 areas throughout northern Victoria,
regularly visited seasonally. In 2005, will I see 212? In 2010, will I see 106
? Will my children see a Rufous Whister outside of a zoo in the year 2050? The
Rufous Whistler is listed as a declining species in NSW Sheep-Wheat Belt. This
is potentially a very real case.
We need to act and we need to act now. It is in everyone's best interests.
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