For Immediate Release 1 October 2014
Stop Eyeing off Fraser Island Water
Proposals to mine Fraser Island’s water resources are now possible under legislative changes passed by the Queensland Government this year. Conservation groups are calling on the State Government to immediately rule out taking water from Fraser Island.
The proposals are being supported by a number of local politicians including Maryborough MP Anne Maddern and Member for Hervey Bay Ted Sorrensen who are concerned that the cities of Maryborough and Hervey Bay have inadequate water to meet future projected demands and that the Newman government will have difficulty doubling sugar cane production due to a water storage deficit in the Fraser Coast.
Fraser Island was previously a “declared wild river” under the Wild Rivers Act that the Newman Government revoked in August. Now with other recent changes to the Nature Conservation Act, it is possible to take water from the previously out of bounds island to allow urban people on the Fraser Coast to have more water for their gardens.
“Attacking an island inscribed on the World Heritage list for its outstanding natural beauty because it is a cheaper option to provide more water for urban consumption than taking water at a slightly greater cost from Paradise Dam just doesn’t sense,” said toby Hutcheon, Executive Director of Queensland Conservation
The conservation movement is concerned not only at the ecological implications for the Fraser Island World Heritage Area but for the health of the marine ecosystems that rely on the environmental flow from Fraser Island.
Hervey Bay has been a renowned destination for recreational fishers but a reduced environmental flow from Fraser Island on top of the flow from mainland streams that have slowed to a trickle this fishery will inevitably decline.
“There are many alternatives to mining Fraser Island water and authorities need to access currently available supplies and to manage demand more efficiently. There is currently 120,000 MGL annually available from Paradise Dam’ and 150,000 MGL annually available from the Mary Water Resource Plan 2006, said WBBEC president Roger Currie.