Showing posts from September, 2010

Island life (Sept 2010)


Premier Anna Bligh's views on North Stradbroke Island

It was great to read of Premier Anna Bligh’s concern for North Stradbroke Island in her recent article published in the Brisbane Times, see Saving my island 'oasis' from sand mining.
However, despite the heartfelt claim she makes, the Bligh Government has created confusion by stating in various ways that the island’s mineral sand resources could support a thriving island economy for 100 or 200 more years, when this is simply not the case (her Brisbane Times article mentions 100 years, while her 20 June media release said 200 years).

This backs the miners’ emotional, and false, claims that the island will be an economic black hole without them.

The facts: The truth is that commercial deposits of mineral sands (zircon, rutile and ilmenite), which have been mined for fifty years, will run out by 2027 at the latest.

In May 2009, CRL told the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX) that its workforce on the Island would halve once Yarraman closed in 2013. (See extract from letter at l…

Then and now: what CRL said about jobs before SaveStraddie

Here’s something to think about when considering the mining companies' claimed commitment to Straddie and economic contribution to the island.
In a letter to the ASX in May ’09 (prior to the Unimin takeover), CRL stated: “the company will move from the current two mine operation on NSI to a single mine operation when mining at Yarraman is completed in late 2013. . . No immediate job losses result from the strategy but with only one mine operating on NSI, employee numbers are expected to approximately halve by 2014.”

Stradbroke Chamber Music Festival Success

There can be no doubting the dedication and enthusiasm of the musicians from the Queensland Symphony Orchestra (QSO). Rachel Smith, Principal first violin with the QSO, has directed the Stradbroke Chamber Music Festival since its inauguration in 2007. This year, together with 12 or so of her fellow players plus other musicians, she again gave up her QSO 'break' to spend a week working hard on North Stradbroke Island (to say nothing of the many hours of organisation!).

While most visitors to Straddie are there for a holiday, these musicians rehearsed, presented four demanding concerts and held classes for local musicians. There certainly wasn’t much time for sightseeing! 
I have to confess to being a committed SCMF 'groupie'. I look forward to travelling 'overseas' for a week or so of R&R and taking in the sea air, the relaxed lifestyle and hospitality of the island and soaking up the beautiful music. The variety was amazing. We had gems such as the sparklin…

Court of Appeal win on construction sand

A July decision by the Court of Appeal has scuttled North Stradbroke Island miner Unimin’s attempts to resuscitate its bid to quarry millions of tonnes of low- value construction sand from the island.

The Court upheld Redland City Council’s 2008 unanimous decision to refuse a Unimin subsidiary the permits needed to remove sand from the island and truck it to the barge load-out at Dunwich for sale to the construction industry.

At the time, Unimin’s proposal caused outrage because of the disruption to the Dunwich community and environmental devastation that would be caused by the quarrying.

Many were concerned about the noise, pollution and safety issues associated with trucking.

They were also alarmed by the prospect of huge tracts of the island being dug up and exported to the mainland from long-life operations.

The Court of Appeal held that the miner’s application to the Council was defective in a number of respects and it dismissed the miner’s appeal against the Council’s unani…

Busy season for whale researchers

Whale watching on Straddie is eagerly awaited each year by residents and visitors alike. From April to November the majestic humpback whales pass close to the island on their annual migration from Antarctica to their calving grounds in the warmer northern waters close to the Barrier Reef, and back again.

The whaling industry almost wiped out the humpback whale by 1960. An annual survey of their numbers began 1980. In more recent times Dr Michael Noad from the UQ Vet School at Gatton has been observing, counting and collecting data as part of The East Coast Australian Humpback Whale Survey.

The humpback whale (megoptera novaeangliae) is the fifth largest of the great whales. Adult females can grow 15 to 17 metres long and weigh 30 to 40 tonnes. According to Dr Noad, there has been a very strong and consistent recovery of numbers of between 10-11% per year. He said the survey showed that this increase might be slowing down this year, which was a good sign and may be halfway to the numb…

Straddie top of list for new Greens Senator

Successful Greens Queensland Senate candidate Larissa Waters has made Saving Straddie one of her top three priorities after her success in the recent Federal election. 

During the campaign FOSI organised for Larissa to inspect the damage being done by Unimin’s sand mines from the air. Visit to read the Greens’ statement.

National Park for Straddie: 17 years is too long to wait

This map shows the Queensland Government’s plan for North Stradbroke Island. You can make a submission on the Vision For Stradbroke Island by mailing: North Stradbroke Island Team, PO Box 2454 Brisbane QLD 4001, Email: until 30 September.

For some ideas for your submission visit

Still campaigning!... 1997 revisited

Blast from the past!. . . This photo below is from the 1997 anti-sand mining campaign on Straddie. Now, 13 years on, people who care about the island and the quality of life of future generations of south-east Queenslanders are again fighting to protect this precious island. 
So let’s keep up the good work! Tell everyone you know – It’s time to save Straddie!The mining leases should not be renewed and National Park should be declared NOW! Not in 17 years time!

How can we save Straddie? Why the current proposal is fatally flawed

The areas of North Stradbroke Island being mined now and those under threat of mining are all within the boundaries of the proposed new national park to be declared on the island.

On 20 June this year Premier Anna Bligh announced, with spin and fanfare, that her Government intended to legislate to end mining and declare 80% of North Stradbroke Island National Park – by 2027.

She did not reveal that mineral sands would run out by 2027 anyway, as the miner admitted to the Australian Securities Exchange only last year, nor that her Government could act now to end mining by 2013, using existing legislation.

On 20 June the Premier also concealed that her Government intends to renew expired mining leases at the giant Enterprise mine. Instead she implied that no expired leases would be renewed, leading to initial praise from some environmental groups.
The key mining lease, 1117, expired on 31 October, 2007. The Bligh Government has allowed mining to continue on it for almost three years be…