Location of Bimblebox Nature Refuge, 500km west of Rockhampton, 50km north-west of Alpha
Bimblebox History In 2000 the property was bought to save it from clearing with combined money of concerned families, plus $286,000 of federal National Reserve System funding In 2003 the Bimblebox Nature Refuge Agreement was signed between the land owners and the state government, to ‘permanently protect’ the property’s conservation values
Obligations by owners of Bimblebox There are extensive conditions under both the National Reserve System (Commonwealth Govt) and Nature Refuge (Queensland Govt) Programs. For example, there ‘must be no destruction of any native plants’. For example, The Minister must be informed if there are any ‘threats’ to the refuge.
What’s so good about Bimblebox? 7,912 hectares, over 95% is remnant woodland and the remainder is being allowed to re-grow It is one of a small number of conservation areas in the biodiverse yet under-studied and under-protected Desert Uplands Is rich in biodiversity – birds, reptiles, flora Part of the National Reserve System of protected areas
Why Protect Bimblebox & the Desert Uplands? Is rich in biodiversity – birds, reptiles, flora Only 2.3% of the whole Desert Uplands bioregion is protected in conservation estates. The Desert Uplands bioregion contains nationally endangered plants, birds, reptiles, mammals and fish.
Why protect Bimblebox? Is a much needed example of cattle grazing co-existing with biodiversity Hosts multiple cutting edge landscape scale research projects run by various agencies (eg. use of fire as a management tool) Innovative management, focussed on optimising biodiversity through strategic cattle grazing of exotic pasture grasses
Research at Bimblebox 1.CSIRO Sustainable Ecosystems – Biodiversity Monitoring in Desert Uplands. 2.Queensland Herbarium & Land and Water Australia - Fire Management Project. 3.Qld DPI&F - 2 projects on woodland monitoring and grazing carrying capacity. 4.Birds Australia – Trends in Avian Diversity. Plus More….
Some recent photos of the diversity of Bimblebox Nature Refuge ……
Silver-leaved Ironbark woodland and Spinifex understorey
Poplar Box (Bimblebox) woodland and native grasses
Waratah Coal’s proposed mine Anticipates extracting 40 Mt of thermal coal per year – will be one of the largest in the southern hemisphere No detailed plans yet released, but talk of 2 open cut, 2 long-wall underground mines and a power station next door Currently preparing their Environmental Impact Statement No guarantee from Waratah or Qld Govt that Bimblebox will be spared
Mining & Exploration at Bimblebox To date, 20 exploration holes have been drilled on Bimblebox. Waratah has built roads on Bimblebox without our consent, have caused erosion on roads and have helped spread the invasive Buffel Grass.
The latest from Bimblebox… No mining has occurred on Nature Refuges, to date, but in August 2009, Dept Environment and Resource Management (DERM) approved an additional 100 exploration holes on Bimblebox. We were given no notice of this approval. At the same time, we purchased infrastructure to improve management of cattle to protect the biodiversity values of Bimblebox.
Issues While 2004 Queensland legislation has put an end to clearing of remnant vegetation by landholders – this does not apply to mining companies There is no security for landholders who are trying to do the right thing by the land Current legislation does not protect significant conservation areas from destruction from mining
More Issues Landholders generally have very few rights in the face of mining interests The mine will also be in the recharge zone of the Great Artesian Basin. The impact on this and local water tables is un-known The threat to Bimblebox Nature Refuge is not from the landholders but purely from government legislation
What we are doing… Wrote to Queensland & Commonwealth Ministers Submission to EPBC Act Petition to the Queensland Government. Hosted former Premier Beattie’s visit to Bimblebox. Working with Mackay Conservation Group, Human Society International, Capricornia Conservation Council, 6 Degrees etc..
What we are doing… Police Waratah’s activities & report breaches to DERM. Submission on Waratah’s Draft Term of Reference Letter to the IUCN Media – newspaper, radio etc.. While working 2 properties & a family…
“Today over 560,800 hectares of some the world’s most biologically diverse areas are protected in Nature Refuges ” “ All 242 nature refuge landholders have one thing in common – they know their patch is worth protecting forever ”
“Our family, 10 years ago put every available last dollar into buying the place to save it from bulldozers. Then in securing it as a Nature Refuge, we were charged by both federal and state governments with the responsibility to restore and preserve. That’s our brief and we intend to keep it and if government and industry cannot recognise its value, then we who do, must show them this place means as much to us as coal does to them.” Ian Hoch, Bimblebox.
Thank you for listening and your support Any questions?