Thursday, 26 July 2018

PARADISE DAM - a case of Ecocide


PARADISE DAM - Case for indictment of Ecocide

A few points to consider (details below)
 “We are monitoring it and seeing that it is a complete disaster ecologically … like you could have dropped a nuclear bomb on the river at that point and you would have had pretty much the same impact as this dam ecologically.”  Dr Chris McGrath, Qld Barrister practicing in Environmental Law
THE Paradise Dam has become a $240 million killing machine for hundreds of fish, including the threatened lungfish. “It’s complete carnage…” sweetwaterfishing.com
“I have a choice to protect our Earth or to let it be destroyed. For me it is unconscionable to walk away.” Polly Higgins
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>  “So between 2001 and 2003 this dam got all its approvals… full EIS, modern laws, everything we’ve got now we had then and to me that’s one of the most concerning things. This dam was not approved back in the 1950’s when we didn’t know any better…WE KNEW.” (And even now, knowing just how ecologically and culturally catastrophic the Paradise Dam has been, knowing that it is injuring and killing thousands of the river’s creatures  every time it floods, government ministers are STILL proposing multiple mega dams for the last wild rivers in the North of Australia, and currently wanting to raise the Warragamba Dam that will inundate 4,700 hectares of the Blue Mountains World Heritage National Park, destroying 48 threatened plant and animal species habitat and 65 kms of wild rivers. [“Dam plan is hitting a wall”, Daily Telegraph on the Save the Blue Mountains Wild Rivers Facebook page.]

>  “Evidence of large numbers of fish injuries and death on the stepped spillway at Paradise Dam.”  DEEDI report on Paradise Dam DSFW Monitoring Program 2012) “…it was an amazing report because it was pretty clear that the fisheries guys had just had enough – this report was just absolutely castigating of the operation of the dam in terms of what it was doing to fish.”
Wikipedia “Queensland Lungfish” in particular ‘conservation status’ – listed as vulnerable, and “capture in the wild is strictly prohibited” …yet HUNDREDS of them have already been smashed to death over the North Pine and Paradise dams, a mass mortality that will continue to happen with every flood until they are extinct…this is intentional ecocide.
“In 2009, 80 lungfish died when Seqwater opened the gates at North Pine Dam.”
“THE Paradise Dam has become a $240 million killing machine for hundreds of fish, including the threatened lungfish. The fishways which were an important condition of the dam being built in 2005 do not work and the dam's stepped spillway is a death trap.”

>  Not only has this dam never been challenged (although the Qld EDO initially took on the case but dropped it soon after, finding that “there were no further avenues to pursue”) the litigation brought by a very small conservation group  challenging just one condition of the dam, which was that  “Burnett Water Pty Ltd must install a fish transfer device suitable for the lungfish” resulted in the judge inexplicably finding that the fish transfer device WAS suitable for lungfish, despite overwhelming evidence that it certainly was not – it hadn’t worked for virtually all the time it had been installed and  even then not one lungfish had ever used it – the judge then bankrupted this small environmental group charging them court fees of $3 million. (possible appeal even now? negligence charge for judge?)

>  Both Qld State and Federal Government ministers should be charged with Criminal Negligence for  the way they lied and misled the MP’s to get them to approve this dam – details below

>  I do not think the Traditional Owners of that country were ever consulted at any time by the government! (Research Wakka Wakka Jinda) There was just one study conducted by The Burnett Water for All (comprising all the councils of the South Burnett, the Indigenous Traditional Owners of the river, and numerous other concerned groups) where the senior lawpeople gave evidence of numerous sacred sites along the river. (details below) They should have at least been informed that they could have made a declaration under Section 10 and 12 of the Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Heritage Protection Act to protect that stretch of river and all those identified sites along it that were inundated.

>  I believe the only creek in the National Park, Bowden Creek, was illegally inundated as it was not removed from the National Park status.

>  I believe the Gondwana riverine ecosystem that evolved with the lungfish and turtle (also found in the upper reaches of the Mary River although only a very small remnant) was unique on the planet, therefore it should be listed as critically endangered. Will research asap.  Yet to find a biodiversity count made before the river and gorge was drowned…I suspect they didn’t bother.

>  Evidence that the large grove of Zamia palms that the logging teams discovered on the lower banks of the Burnett River upstream of the Paradise Dam as they were removing all the useful ‘timber’ before inundation, contained specimens many thousands of years old. https://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/article/136323896/16091594  This hidden grove was exceptionally rare, in fact probably the only one of its kind left in the world. It would have been a mecca for ecotourism, along with the lungfish and bottom-breathing turtle. The older trees were all dug up and translocated ‘somewhere’. Burnett Water refused to give any details, citing that if people knew where they were relocated to, they could be stolen. I believe they are all dead, if they bothered to move them at all. This can be easily verified. Burnett Water must provide evidence that these trees were successfully translocated.
“Professor Chamberlain stated that the largest seed cone known to the University of Chicago at that date, weighed thirty-five pounds, whereas, a cone which was taken from a Tambourine Mountain palm weighed eight-five pounds. It was sent to America. Every seed, or nut, in it germinated, and now a tiny macrozamia palm, a descendant from the Tambourine Mountain giant, graces each of the 151 National Parks in America/…/The whole grove of them were more than twenty feet high. The one and only giant now said to be remaining is twenty feet high, and will be a lonely figure for many thousands of years, as the grove of infants near it are now only about three feet high, and each one is said to be three thousand years old. This goes to show how extremely slow these Macrozamia's grow.”

> “Labor won the election and it then became an election commitment, so Beattie was committed to delivering it before there had been any EIS or anything done, so it was a political commitment. Actually the department at the time was saying, we don’t actually need it, there’s enough water impounded already in this river system, but it was a political imperative.”

>  “All the State government departments which developed the Water Allocation Management Plan said the dam was not an economic or environmentally sensible option, yet Beattie said he would build one to win the last election, and that's that. All the departments, the staff who worked for years on the plan and the millions of dollars it cost, have been tossed out the window. Beattie has admitted privately that it is wrong, and simply a political issue and Tom Barton the Minister of State Development is a dam evangelist - he is the single shareholder in Burnett Water, the company formed to arrange a dodgy EIS and gain all approvals.” Graeme Armstrong, Biologist and expert on the Burnett River’s ecology

>   Peter Beattie abused his position when he made a critical report, that he himself had commissioned, a cabinet document to hide the fact that this dam was going to be a complete disaster.  He had been hell bent on building this Dam after an election promise that he stated “overrides all other considerations”, willfully ignoring all the Environmental groups, the CSIRO and lungfish experts from all over the world, including Australia’s foremost expert, Professor Jean Joss and despite commissioning a report that told him exactly what the experts were telling him (including Sir David Attenborough) …that damming this river at this site would be an unthinkable ecological catastrophe that could well lead to the lungfish and the turtle’s extinction on the river. He immediately made that report a ‘Cabinet Document’ so no-one would be able to view it for 30 years, and with the blessings of the federal government, went ahead with the worst case of ecocide in Australia’s history, for which he will hopefully one day face an international criminal court. Since the super-dam was built, there have been three mass mortality events of lungfish and turtles. Lungfish & turtle numbers have crashed and there has been no new recruitment.

>  Reportedly the dense fig banks were the last home of the critically endangered Coxens Double-eyed Fig Parrot, sighted there not long before the dam was built…the dam destroyed their habitat:
Rare Parrot at Dam Site – Central Northern Burnett Times
A reported sighting of a bird which could be a Coxen's Double-Eyed Fig Parrot in vine scrub on the Burnett River near Mt. Blandy is a "significant issue" if it can be verified, because of the threat from the proposed Burnett River Dam. The bird is listed as "endangered with a very high risk of extinction", which triggers the recovery objectives of the Action Plan for Australian Birds 200, which involves "locating, protecting and maintaining remaining populations" and "increasing extent, quality and connectivity of habitat", all of which will be further destroyed by the dam.
(Additionally, there is a display of this bird in the Brisbane Museum as critically endangered…its  Recovery Plan has been totally ignored)
(NB The Paradise Parrot, the endemic species which once thrived here, and who gave its name to the old goldmining town on the banks where the dam was built, is also thought to be extinct.)

>  The recovery plan for the unique white-throated snapping  turtle Elseya Albagula, only identified after the dam was commenced, lasted just 2 years before being abandoned

>  Water release data examined by Chris McGrath demonstrates that the dam is totally unnecessary as it has not released any water through dry periods. 

>  The impoundment destroyed the archaeological site of the township of Paradise, another tourist attraction: http://www.qhatlas.com.au/content/order-paradise-colonial-gold-field
Order in Paradise: a colonial gold field | Queensland ...
www.qhatlas.com.au
The gold mining town of Paradise once stretched for more than a kilometre along the southern bank of the Burnett River in Central Queensland. Founded in 1889 and...

>  There was enormous potential for eco-cultural tourism along this river, especially day and night canoeing trips through the gorge and indigenous ranger tours.  (details below)

>  Palaeontologist and evolutionary developmental biologist, Professor Per Ahlberg of Uppsala University, Sweden, is coordinating the international response (to oppose the dam? confirm).  “The Australian Lungfish is irreplaceable, and the international community is appalled and dismayed that a wealthy and conservation-aware country such as Australia could be prepared to, in effect, deliberately drive such a scientifically important animal to extinction,” he says. “There is a whole slew of important developmental genetics and morphological evolutionary biology questions relating to our anatomy – such as the origin of digits – that can only be answered with reference to the Australian Lungfish. If it dies out, these questions will remain unanswered forever.” Australia’s leading lungfish specialist, Prof Jean Joss who vehemently fought against this dam, has many times made that very same argument. When she and biologist Graeme Armstrong saw the plans for the fish transfer device on the dam, they thought it a ridiculous joke. She asked, even if it does work, what was the point when their entire habitat has been destroyed.  
Email: Per.Ahlberg@ebu.uu.se  ph: +4618-471 2641
Evolutionsbiologiskt centrum EBC Norbyv.18A

>  I will contact Polly Higgins, Ecocide Law Expert in Stroud, and ask if she would consider the merits of this case.   
Q&A pages on ecocide law at: eradicatingecocide.com and missionlifeforce.org  (interview below)

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Water management lecture 2015
Published on Nov 5, 2015

This lecture examines water management, fisheries and cultural heritage laws in Queensland, Australia. A central theme developed in the lecture is that environmental regulation is very hard for long-term and highly complex environmental problems. A large part of the lecture is devoted to examining a case study of the Paradise Dam, which was built on the Burnett River in Queensland in 2003-2005. http://envlaw.com.au/paradise-dam-case/
This case study involved an application by the Wide Bay Burnett Conservation Council (WBBCC) for a declaration and an injunction to restrain an alleged contravention of an approval under the EPBC Act for the Paradise Dam.
The Paradise Dam (previously called the “Burnett River Dam”) is a major dam with a storage capacity of 300,000 megalitres constructed on the lower Burnett River approximately 80 km southwest of Bundaberg in Queensland.
The respondent to the litigation was Burnett Water Pty Ltd, which owned and operated the dam.
The Burnett River contains one of only two known endemic populations of the Australian or Queensland lungfish, a species that is well over 100 million years old, and listed as vulnerable to extinction under the EPBC Act.
The Paradise Dam was approved in 2002 and in 2003 the conditions of the approval were varied to include the following condition:  "Burnett Water Pty Ltd must install a fish transfer device on the Burnett River Dam suitable for the lungfish. The fishway will commence when the dam becomes operational."
Burnett Water Pty Ltd installed an upstream fishway and separate downstream fishway on the dam but WBBCC alleged these were not “suitable for lungfish”. A series of pictures showing the dam and the fishways is available here. The trial was originally listed for 4 weeks commencing on 7 September 2009 but on the first day of the hearing it was adjourned until 9 November 2009 after the respondent applied to the Federal Environment Minister to amend the condition on which the case is based. The Minister subsequently refused to amend the condition. The proceedings commenced in late 2008 and the trial was held on 9 – 23 November 2009. Due to the illness of one of the witnesses, it was adjourned part-heard until 1 February 2010. The judgment was reserved for over a year before being delivered on 4 March 2011. The Court dismissed the application.

The Paradise Dam, some of the evidence in the court case and subsequent data on the impacts and operation of the dam is the focus of the following lecture on water management in Queensland (the discussion of the dam commences at 8:55 on the counter):
(TRANSCRIPTION of lecture by myself) (My comments in Times New Roman italics)

“I wanted to explore how complicated and difficult environmental regulations are when you deal with long term, highly complex problems like damming a river and then managing the dam. Also the importance of monitoring requirements and approval conditions – you’ll see that while there were monitoring requirements put in place for this dam, in practice they mean bugger all because we are monitoring it and seeing that it is a DISASTER, ecologically, a complete disaster … like you could have just about dropped a nuclear bomb on the river at that point, like a small localised nuclear bomb, and you would have had pretty well the same impact as this dam, ecologically (& culturally). So we’re monitoring it and we can see that it’s a huge problem but no one wants to do anything about it, basically because it’s a government-owned dam, and it’s just too hard. (Nor could you – it doesn’t matter what anyone says or does, even the world’s experts – the government are wilfully ignoring them and disregarding everything anyone says or does, even the world experts…this to me is criminal negligence of their pledged duty of office)

“Environmental legislation may be partly symbolic designed to satisfy international obligations or to quiet public interest groups with the tacit understanding between government and regulators of under-enforcement.” Briody M and Prenzier T: “The enforcement of environmental protection laws in Queensland: A case of regulatory capture? (1998)

Don’t be naive and believe that just because the law says something should be protected that it actually will be, as these two authors said back in 1998 talking about the enforcement of environmental protection laws. I think that is a huge reality and if you look at our legal system on paper, its actually pretty good – where it falls down is that we lack a regulator, either in a state level or at a commonwealth level, who actually enforces their laws effectively, so we get bullshit put into application processes like this Carmichael mine, and the government ticks it off because it’s got a pretty cover on it and lots of impressive maps and is prepared by a big consultancy. Tick tick tick tick tick; it goes through and doesn’t get enforced even what gets approved. But I also don’t want you to be cynical in thinking it doesn’t make any difference, it doesn’t work, it’s just no good, why would we bother… because environmental regulation does actually make a difference – sure it’s not good enough and it could be dramatically improved, but it does actually make a big difference, and if you think about it, there’s no other better tool that were going to create for placing control on activities, but it’s imperfect.

So this dam was built on the Burnett River – this is a picture taken a little over ten years ago on the river – so you see a beautiful slow-flowing river – if you went back there now …I’ve actually been back there with some honour students, we paddled exactly where this picture was taken, and basically there’s about 30 meters of water at this point – this whole valley has been flooded for the dam. And this section of the river is also flooded. This is actually where the dam reservoir wall is. Notice you’ve got this wide, slow-flowing river – it does have huge floods and I’ll show you some images of floods in a moment, but they are rare (not that rare, eg there have been two major flooding events and numerous smaller floods just since the dam was built) and for most of the time it is a wide, slow-flowing, sinuous river. (another pic) This picture is taken actually where the dam wall is built – this was taken in 2003, so right now there’s 40 metres of concrete on top of this river bed. 




(My photo of kalliwa beach, the only camping place in the NP - note small waterfall)


(My photo looking downstream from Kalliwa Hut)

But if you rewind back ten years and you look at this from a fish’s perspective, it was a great environment for mobility, easy to move upstream because the water’s slow flowing, and downstream. For lungfish, a species that’s endemic to this river and the Mary River …it’s been translocated to other rivers (unsuccessfully) but this is one of its core habitats. It feeds amongst the macrophytes – large water weeds that you can see there, they have little snails on them, algae and the like…the lungfish do a lot of feeding in that, their young grow in that (the ‘increase sites’ that Mavis Hawins refers to) so they really love these large macrophyte beds, that’s their best habitat. So when you build a dam on that you lose all that shallow slow-moving water and the entire macrophyte habitat – so, a huge loss of habitat for aquatic species. (Prof Jean Joss quote at the dam lawsuit re the fish lift: “Even if the lift DID work, there will be no breeding habitat left on the river for the lungfish.” and the critically endangered Elseya turtle?  How do they negotiate the dam?)















So you’ve basically plonked this massive concrete structure in the middle of the river. Now the major impacts of building a dam like this is 1) You’ve destroyed over 40 km of river habitat (including Bowden Creek -and Kalliwa Creek?- which was not excised from the NP by the govt’s act and therefore flooded illegally) 2) caused major changes in downstream flow regimes and 3) it’s a major barrier to fish passage and there’s also significant fish mortality on the stepped spillway. (12.29)



Just to give you a bit of context, this is a map of dams and weirs. (He defines the difference between dams, weirs and barrages) The Burnett River where this dam was built is actually the most heavily impounded river catchment in Queensland. The Burnett River (Paradise Dam) is the 10th largest dam in terms of storage capacity. The Burnett River flows out at Bundaberg- it’s a lovely river system. The next map shows all the tributaries coming in, and all those little blue boxes are names of the big dams and weirs in the catchment - there’s 23 dams in the catchment, mostly in the upper catchment – the paradise dam is in the lower catchment.



The next map “Lungfish distribution within the Burnett Basin” – the red section is their core distribution, so that’s the mid and lower reaches of the river once it comes down out of the high country…the yellow is some limited lungfish distribution, but the Paradise Dam, as you can see, is smack bang in its core distribution. Now the lungfish doesn’t move out to sea, it basically stayed within the river system so the population exists, moves around and breeds within it, so distribution is important in its long-term survival.



Has anyone seen a lungfish? Lots of places have them in a tank (…which is horribly cruel! How much anxiety do you think they experience, not being able to even move around let alone mate or fulfill any of their biological imperatives? The DPI in Brisbane had one in a small tank in its foyer the last time I was there…just sitting there, not moving…) We’ve found the fossil record to confirm the species has been around for about 400 million years (Actually the Australian lungfish is only 100 million years plus old, but phenomenally primeval anyway) (he explains the lungfish breathing process) The lungfish is one of the rare species that has a rudimentary lung, so not only can it breathe in water, but it can actually breathe in air and absorb oxygen and release carbon dioxide. And when they were discovered back in 1893, they were seen as this amazing scientific discovery and were hailed as one of the links between animals moving from the oceans onto land. So these are the Australian lungfish endemic to SE Qld, found nowhere else in the world except the Burnett River and the Mary River, a little bit to the south. When they were discovered, their numbers were thought to be a bit low, so they were moved around to the Brisbane River (where their numbers have crashed in recent years, may be locally extinct now) (North Pine River? Which others -  research)

Now the reason for this dam, if you rewind back to 1999 when there was an election. Peter Beattie was the premier, he was going to an election and the opposition, the Nationals promised that if they were elected they would build a dam on the Burnett, so Peter Beattie immediately came out and said if Labor was elected, they would also build a dam on the Burnett. So Labor won the election and it then became an election commitment, so Beattie was committed to delivering it before there had been any EIS or anything done, so it was a political commitment. Actually the department at the time was saying, we don’t actually need it, there’s enough water impounded already in this river system, but it was a political imperative. So the government created a government-owned corporation called Burnett Water Pty Ltd. And it was charged with constructing the dam.  

Now it is a wide and shallow river at this point, so they needed to build this massive wall to get a significant amount of water captured in it. So you can see the wall here, overlaid on what the river was before, and see the limits of where the dam reservoir would reach. This is the dam now it’s been built. So it went through an EIS in 2001, 2002. It was approved at a state level by the coordinator general (INDICT HIM? See transcript below) under the public works state organisation. It was also approved at a commonwealth level under the EPBC Act. (This was demonstrable eco vandalism intent!)  It then was constructed in 2003-5…I actually remember… I went up there before it was constructed as part of a protest… there were protests about it and speeches – I remember standing on the banks, I drove up with Drew Hutton and we were standing where this photo was taken amongst the trees… basically, there was a big protest about it. (It wasn’t really, there were only a couple of dozen people there, notably 3 elder Aboriginal women, one of which was Mavis Hawkins – I gave her a postcard of the black swans on the river) Despite all the opposition, it was built. (“all”? Locally there was Graeme Armstrong, Lyndy Marshall and myself. Otherwise, Jill Pechey from Maleny, Roger Curry and his small grassroots conservation group who ran the only court case, and Prof Jean Joss...don’t know of anyone else actively fighting this dam) This is what it looks like now…here you’ve got the dam reservoir. This is the water intake tower.

The big wall stops water moving downstream but you need to be able to release it in a controlled way to deliver water to farmers, so that water tower has a passage through the dam wall. If you get a flood in the river and you’re unable to release the water quickly enough, you won’t be able to control what happens to the flood, you don’t just want it spilling around the edges of your dam. So dams always have a spillway to control the flood. So that’s the spillway. This river has enormous floods (The dam was supposed to hold the water up to 100 year flood level) and the spillway is 470 meters across…it’s enormous! (Next pic closer) So if we go a bit closer…here’s the water tower with grills here and behind is basically intakes. Because this dam was being built in a phase where there were all these modern environmental laws, we had the Water Act, we’ve got all of the laws in place now. There was a lot of community opposition to it. (No there was not, the locals were all for it and the EDO squibbed the fight they had been commissioned to conduct after Bob Brown came to town and offered Larissa Waters a place in parliament – must ask EDO Qld, nicely, for copies of all the evidence they had accumulated against the dam up until they abandoned the case, due to there being “no further avenues to pursue”.) The proponent said, in answer to the fact that it’s going to destroy the habitat of the lungfish, it’s going to be stopped from moving along with all the other fish, the proponent said Fine – we will build a fish transfer device that will be suitable for the lungfish. And so they built a downstream fish passage and an upstream fish passage. I’ll just explain that. This is the entrance to the downstream fish passage. Now you guys might not be dam engineers or lungfish experts, but can anyone point out to me a minor problem with this fish passage device? (Reply:  It’s too high.) It’s too high! Does that deserve a chocolate? It’s out of the water! Now the lungfish, remarkable as they are, are not known for being able to fly. So the dam was built in 2003-5 and commenced operation in 2005. This picture was taken in 2008, but the water still hadn’t reached the entrance. Later in 2008 the water level had actually dropped even more …you can actually see the pipe going down for the fish transfer device. 

So a court case started about this time, which I was involved in as a lawyer and I spent pretty much a year of my life working on it.  (Commendable commitment from Chris McGrath – he practices what he preaches) It wasn’t so much actually about this dam, but right at this time there was another dam proposed, the Traveston Crossing dam on the Mary River where the other lungfish core population was, and the Queensland government wanted to build that, and the proponent of that dam was saying, ah we will build a fish passage transfer device, look at the great one we built on the Paradise Dam!  But basically the fish transfer was not working. Mainly for the dam that was proposed on the Mary river, I acted for a conservation group that brought litigation against the Paradise Dam to try and enforce conditions about the fish passage, which said the fish transfer device had to be suitable for lungfish, and one of the main points we made was, the fish passage was built too high (Lengthy explanation about how the downhill fish transfer works – fish in a narrow pipe in utter blackness) Anyone want to guess how much the downhill transfer device costs? $8 million out of a total dam cost of $250.  So to go up is a lot more difficult. So they release water that is meant to attract the fish and then they are meant to swim up into this culvert, and there is a box called a hopper, which goes up on rails to the top…if you imagine a little mini skip rubbish bin. This is it after its been operating for a while because it sits in water…HUGE maintenance problems, like it constantly broke down, there’s all these sensors...if anything goes wrong it has to stop and you’ve got to repair it. When they initially built it (its nice and yellow here that’s before it got covered in algae) it didn’t have a cage on the top of it and they found the fish were jumping out, which is a problem for the fish when your 40 meters up in the air and below you is concrete… so they put a cage on top of it. This is a diagram of actually what it’s supposed to do. This is video of the hopper going up, just about to reach the top (Extremely loud noise of heavy machinery! Will the fish all end up deaf?) An enormous amount of weight, so you can imagine there’s a lot of health and safety concerns. (He mentions to his students that the lift looks like a joke, but it isn’t – they actually built this and expected it to work…and the court found NOTHING WRONG WITH IT, even though it has NEVER TRANSFERRED ONE LUNGFISH and is constantly out of action! The judge dismissed the case and ordered the small conservation group to pay an enormous court bill  – find out who he was! - was demonstrably negligent!) (and what about turtles, do they use it? do they get smashed to bits in that tiny pipe going down or in the tiny cage going up, like they do when they were swept over the dam wall…twice.)

So that fish lift that doesn’t work isn’t actually the worst thing for the lungfish on this dam, the worst thing… Basically the data shows that both fish transfer devices don’t work, that lungfish don’t use them … I should ask first, what do you reckon the uphill device cost? $12 million. So $20 million for this transfer device. There is no data of them using that downstream device at all, for some reason they don’t like swimming into that tiny entrance and into that black pipe. Actually it was quite funny …in a way, sad in another way – we were there with the judge standing in this court case, we were standing on top of the downstream fishway in the water box, I was looking down on it – you can stand on top of it and there’s this grill where you can actually look down into it, and the judge was looking down into it and the other lawyers (Who were these lawyers working  for the government? Name and shame - they somehow managed to persuade the judge to find NOTHING WRONG with this ridiculously insane device, and charged the government, us, $3million for their services, which Roger Currie’s group had to repay) and this cormorant came swooping in across the dam reservoir and it splashed down a few meters in front of the entrance to it and went straight into the top of the downstream fishway and was basically fishing there …the splash made everyone jump because it came out of nowhere, and this bird was clearly doing what it did every day which was to sit in the entrance of the fishway and eat everything small enough that goes in there, which is a big problem for fish transfer devices generally because if you constrict fish passage then predators get to know that’s a good place to catch things…so basically all the little fish are getting eaten, and lungfish just don’t go into it. 

So they’ve spent $20 million …and the two fishways have basically been broken for 95% of the time since they were constructed in 2005, so they’ve operated for less than 5% of the time for the last 10 years, with huge maintenance problems.  Question: why couldn’t they have put the hole closer to the bottom? Basically, there were additional costs so they were skipping. The really big problem though is actually the spillway…over 400 meters across, is you go in close…(pic) again to save some money, they’ve built it with steps to slow the water down. So these steps are half a meter across…can you see a problem for all the lungfish, turtles and eels that get swept over? Basically they get slammed all the way down, and if you stand there in a flood, you can see the turtles ricocheting off, and lungfish bouncing off and getting their heads bashed in… and we’re going to look at some horrible pictures in a minute of dead fish that have been killed by this thing, so it’s literally killing thousands, probably tens of thousands of organisms. And lungfish get to about a meter and a half, and are almost as tall as us, and there’s no way you could go over as a human, it would be seen as way too dangerous.  This is a small flood event; you can see it just cascading down. This is a much bigger flood event (2010). (Played some video of the flood, deafening roar) 

This is the February 2011 flood that followed, and the water was much higher here, you can see that because there’s no little apron, the water’s going over and not striking, or not getting kicked out. This flood actually came back to bite them on the arse, trying to be cheap with the spillway, because this flood actually scoured out the base of the dam so badly, and it destroyed the control tower here, and ripped out the bottom of this (pointing with curser). At the beginning of last year the government had to spend $30 million to rebuild the base of the dam.  So they saved maybe a few hundred thousand in concrete with the stepped spillway then they had to rebuild it because the flood came and knocked it out. And this flood also destroyed the ability of the dam to release water and it also damaged both of the fishways, so after this flood both of the fishways were out of operation from February 2011 till about midway through last year. You might think that when you build a dam, you would build it to withstand a flood, but obviously that’s not what happened here. 

This is a picture of the dam in flood, you can see the massive amount of water, you can see the reservoir behind it. Just to give you an idea about what happens to the fish, this is the North Pine Dam “Fish kill at North Pine Dam 24th September 2009 (research current status of lungfish in this river and North Pine Dam) which is much smaller and as I said, lungfish have been translocated to this river. In September 2009 there was a release from this dam, so that they opened these spillway gates, and basically where these pictures were taken …sorry, graphic images of dead fish …here’s a whole lot of lungfish (“Fish kill at North Pine Dam 24 September 2009” - Pic by David Kreuz) …they have massive head injuries, basically they come out of the spillway and crash down on these water-dissipating concrete bollards at the base. 

So that’s a relatively small dam, and that’s pretty well what’s happening on the Paradise Dam and there’s plenty of evidence of that – there were monitoring requirements on the dam operators imposing the conditions and they commissioned the Dept. of Fishery is to monitor and produce reports – this was the last report they produced in 2012  (“Evidence of large numbers of fish injuries and death on the stepped spillway at Paradise Dam. “Source: DEEDI report on Paradise Dam DSFW Monitoring Program 2012)  and it was an amazing report because it was pretty clear that the fisheries guys had just had enough – this report was just absolutely castigating of the operation of the dam in terms of what it was doing to fish. Data indicates that the Qld lungfish injured and killed during passage of the dam while during high and low flow events over the spillway (these are some pictures of what they found…so this is a picture of a living but severely injured Queensland lungfish captured downstream of the spillway on the 22nd March 2010. The sampling of this relatively small report ended in 2010 – there was no data collected in the 2011 and 2012 floods…so massive descaling and head injuries.

“In the early stage of the spillway flow period fish were observed and recorded on video passing over the spillway wall, striking the wall surface and being projected into the air before striking the wall again. The descent of fish such as long-finned eel could sometimes be followed and the fish retrieved, all long-finned eels retrieved in such a manner had obvious strike injuries and were deceased when collected. Larger fish species such as lungfish, golden perch and barramundi exhibited localised injuries consistent with striking hard objects. Injuries were extensive and obvious and consisted of abrasions, descaling and head damage (example figure 28: Deceased golden perch that was collected downstream of the Paradise Dam spillway on the 11th March 2010. Note the strike mark extending from the dorsal to the ventral area.) (I believe virtually all the older lungfish that existed on this river before the dam will now have been killed by the dam in one way or another, mostly by the numerous flooding events, as with the turtles. Need to find out whether there was a biodiversity count or assessment made, especially of lungfish and turtles, before the dam was built – ask Graham Armstrong and Fisheries.  A count now will determine roughly how many have been killed by the Qld and Federal government ministers who approved this dam – they also need naming and shaming, easy research.) What do you think caused that? It’s probably been thrown sideways into one of the steps and had probably had its back broken.

So this is some of the data from March 2010 (below) when there were relatively small overflows – they actually found…just think about the logistics of going out onto a flooding river and looking for fish that have come over a dam wall – its bloody hard – a lot of them would be lost but they actually found 152 dead lungfish…they actually found them. They also looked at releases from the environmental tower, so that’s actually through the dam release, and this is a deceased Qld lungfish displaying severe injuries collected after releases through the water tower on September 2010. This is a deceased long-finned eel with a broken spine collected after releases made through the environmental tower on the 15th September 2010.  This is a picture that just about made me throw up when I saw it because I’d been working on this dam for pretty much a year and I saw this and it’s just sickening …this is pieces of fish found directly at the release point of the water tower immediately after being shut down. So basically fish are getting sucked in when they release water, and they go through the release mechanism and they get shredded. So this fish has been completely shredded and that’s just the skin that’s left.

So how did we get to this? We get to this through a full-blown EIS done by the coordinator general under the State Development Public Works Organisation Act 1971 (Qld) and fully approved under the EPBC Act. Pic: “The Paradise Dam was assessed and approved in 2001-2003 under all State and Federal laws. It underwent a full EIS under the SDPWOA.

So between 2001 and 2003 this dam got all its approvals… full EIS, modern laws, everything we’ve got now we had then and to me that’s one of the most concerning things. This dam was not approved back in the 1950’s when we didn’t know any better…WE KNEW. We had every law we’ve got now and yet we still approved it.  

How does the analysis of impacts in the EIS measure up after years of operation of the dam?) I think it’s really interesting to go back and look at the EIS with the reality of what actually happened. For example, this is one of the graphs in the EIS (Pic: Graph of pre-dam and post-dam expected flow in Burnett River downstream of the Paradise Dam site presented in EIS for the dam.) talking about  pre and post dam expected monthly flow downstream of the dam over a year. Basically what this graph is meant to suggest is that the dam takes a little bit of water during the wet season, but often there is no change and in the dry season there’s a little bit more water released supplying water to downstream farmers who then buy it in the dry season. This is what it actually looks like in reality. (Pic: Releases compared to net flow) Data of inflows into the dam from 2005 to 2009. The data shows that actually they didn’t release anything…they had all this water coming in but they didn’t release it. One thing, the dam operators won’t release any information about water sales because that’s commercial in confidence, you can’t  get that under freedom of information laws, but you can infer from this data, the only way they deliver water is by releasing it to downstream farmers…if they’re not releasing any, they’re not selling any. Now from 2005 to 2008 there was a massive drought in Qld. They had plenty of water but they weren't releasing anything to downstream farmers. Right now no-one wants the water either, everyone’s in flood…the farmers don’t need the water during the wet periods, but it’s also clear from this data that they don’t even need it during an enormous drought. This is a really clear indicator that the dam was completely bloody unnecessary. You’re not selling any water! This is what’s making my heart break is that if we were doing something good with the water, if we were actually generating jobs and earning money, you might think Oh well, sad for the fish, but…you know – but were not actually even doing that! 

Question from the students: How would they get rid of the dam? (that deserved 3 chocolates) Well technically you could basically dismantle it for around $20-30 million …the real problem is politics. There is no way, politically, that the government would agree (which is why it has to be tried in a UN court for grand ecocide) …and they’ve just spent $20 million fixing up the foot of the bloody thing, they could have put that into ripping the whole f***ing thing out. 

Another Question (gets last chocolate). So it was constructed under a Labor government, why didn’t the LNP just say this is a massive Labor stuff up …basically because the LNP is a bit torn, it’s a massive dam project, they’re all about constructing big infrastructure and jobs. Question: Who are the stakeholders who would fight to keep the dam there? Well there’s a whole heap of agricultural industries downstream (Most farmers already had off-stream storage that they collected during the many floods…that was perfectly sufficient for them before the dam, and would be the same again.)   A lot of the industries don’t want to criticise this project because they see these [projects as generally good and they want them. (But most people would not want the carnage the dam has caused and will continue to cause into the foreseeable future, but this information is mostly hidden from them, such as where the Zamia Palms were relocated to…)  They’re not using it, that’s right, but no-one’s going to criticise it, even if these projects don’t stack up financially. (Or environmentally) Another question: Looking at the ecological aspects of this, aren’t the lungfish a really important species and isn’t this a problem, and the answer is YES YES YES! But pretty well the commonwealth environment minister and the department have wiped their hands of the operation of the dam (CRIMINAL NEGLECT) …there’s been questions on notice from Greens senator Larissa Waters, trying to put pressure on them, but the commonwealth dept has said, were happy with the operation.

Well anyway, there’s a heap of problems concerned with restricting lungfish movement, a lot of work done by the DPI in tracking fish, so what they do they catch the fish and rock it to sleep (actually they electrocute and stun them) then they turn it over and put a little tag in it, a pit tag, a passive integrated transponder, and then put sensors in the creek and when the fish swims next to the sensor it basically records it. (Keeps moving away from the dam wall, no macrophytes, can’t go upstream because of a weir so they’re stuck.)

Financial balance sheet for dam:  Construction cost $250,000,000 (downstream fishway cost $8,000,000, upstream fishway costs $12,000,000, annual loss of interest @ 8% $20,000,000 (cost for repairs, two times!) Operating costs unknown but more than $100,000 per year. Water sales/income from the dam appear to be virtually nil.

Roger Curry’s court case 2008-2011 alleging breach of conditions 3 of EPBC Act approval: must install a transfer device, and we lost - basically we got overrun by the legal team on the other side and at the end of the day the government bankrupted my client with a $3 million cost - they had spent $3 million defending the action, we had a budget of about $150,000 so you can see it was a David and Goliath fight …unfortunately David got squashed. The conservation group challenging the operation of the dam could not get any dam engineers to work for the group as an expert witness in the case. Why do you think that was the case? In my view the regulatory conditions failed utterly in this case.
Table 14: Total number of deceased large bodied fish collected or observed following spillway overtopping events and environmental tower releases in March and September 2010 (details below)
Species name,  Spillway mortalities, Environmental tower mortalities.
Bony herring 359 13  / Qld lungfish 152 13 / Long-finned eel  90  4 / Freshwater catfish  34  NR / Golden perch 25 7 / Striped mullet 13 NR / Spangled perch 7  1 / Barramundi  6  NR / Hyrti’s tandan         5  NR / Australian bass  2  NR / Rendahl’s catfish  1   1 / Snub-nosed garfish  1  1 / Banded grunter 2 3
The Department at the time was saying we don’t actually need another dam, there’s enough impoundments in the system, but Beattie had already promised it.



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NOTES

How easily the State Government slipped legislation through to build the Paradise Dam:
From Qld.State Government Parliament on http://www.parliament.qld.gov.au/tableoffice/HALnks/021205/QBSA.pdf</A></FONQld. Building Services Authority and Other Legislation Amendment Bill (to excise the stretch of the Burnett River that runs through the Goodnight Scrub National Park so the Paradise dam can be built)
After waffling on for 18 minutes, Jeff Seeney said:

Mr. Seeney:  In conclusion I look forward to the day when the Paradise dam is completed. I anticipate that it will be completed in such a way as to enhance the natural environment and provide the economic benefits we all want to see.
Hon. D.M. WELLS (Murrumba ALP) (Minister for Environment): In reply I thank Hon. Members for their support of the motion, in particular the Honorable Member for Burnett in whose electorate this occurs.  I thank the Hon member for Callide for his 18 minute keynote address on the subject. The fact that he gave us such a detailed expiation of those ideas was much more satisfying than had he given the House the pleasure of his 2 minute summation, which would have just as neatly encapsulated everything that he said. As for the suggestion by the Member for Keppel that there was a lack of an environmental impact study with respect to this, there is no environmental impact in changing lines on a map (!!!) and that is all that this does. The trees will be in the same place and the birds will sing largely the same songs. (How did they get away with telling such LIES? The trees won’t even EXIST any more…the remaining trees after the area has been logged will all be drowned, causing a great deal of pollution as they decay under water… the birds will be either killed or forced to fly to an unsuitable habitat or another bird’s territory where they probably won’t survive. Blatantly misleading ... and  all the MPs bought it?! As if changing the boundaries to take the river out of the National Park, and then blocking it’s main channel with a gigantic dam, and flooding 45 kms of endangered species habitat upstream and blocking fish passage downstream would not have any impact on the environment! As if the changing of the boundary was the ONLY issue to consider!)  The amount that is being transferred out of the Goodnight Scrub is less than the amount that is being transferred in.  I can assure the Hon. Member for Keppel that the quality of the land that is being transferred in to the Park is of the same set of values as the land which is being transferred out. (More LIES; a few scrappy acres of degraded bush tagged on to the outside of the park is nowhere near equal in value to the biodiverse river, the very heart of the National Park, the jewel in its crown) This is a net gain for conservation.  (It was a huge, tragic loss for conservation and future generations)  There will be much more land in the Goodnight Scrub National Park than there was prior to this series of moves (but no river - Kalliwa beach on a river bend was the only camping site in the National Park - to be inundated along with all the other beautiful wide sandy beaches, six kilometres of rocky rapids, a waterfall, turtle island and numerous source & increase sites) and there will be more funds available for the Environment Department to address the issues of National Parks in this area. (Nat Parks funding was subsequently slashed) This is not about building the Paradise Dam, this is about improving the Goodnight Scrub National Park. (No, it’s about GUTTING the Goodnight Scrub NP and destroying for ever priceless ecology and cultural heritage.)

Motion agreed to. (...to their eternal shame.)


----------------------------------
(How it sailed through the federal parliament)
Revocation Act - Goodnight Scrub NP

REVOCATION OF STATE FOREST AREAS
Notice of Motion

Hon. D. M. WELLS (Murrumba-ALP) (Minister for Environment) (5.50 p.m.):  I lay upon the table of the House a proposal under section 32 of the Nature conservation Act 1992 and a brief explanation of the proposal.

I give notice that after the expiration of at least 14 sitting days as provided in the Nature conservation Act 1992, I shall move-

(1)  That this House requests the governor in Council to make a revocation by regulation of dedicated protected areas under the Nature Conservation Act 1992 as follows- 

      (a)  that part of Goodnight Scrub National Park described as Lot 1 on AP9886 and containing an area of about 55 hectares, and
      (b)  that part of goodnight Scrub Resources Reserve described as Lot 2 on AP9887 and containing an area of about 425 hectares. (480 hectares of biodiversity hotspot comprising a tangled vine rainforest and a river ecosystem with plant and animal species from Gondwana …lungfish over 100 million years old, were removed from the National Park…correlate with how much was ACTUALLY lost)
(2)  That Mr Speaker forward a copy of this resolution to the Minister for Environment and the clerk of the Parliament for submission to the Governor in Council. (Did the Governor have the final say? Culpable?) 

The areas to be revoked are those parts of the Goodnight Scrub National Park and Goodnight Scrub resources Reserve that are likely to be impacted by the proposed Burnett River Dam near Biggenden. The proposed construction of the dam was authorised following an environmental assessment under the State Development and Public Works Organisation Act 1971 which was accredited under the Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 of the Commonwealth. Detailed modelling investigations have identified the potentially impacted areas of the national park and resources reserve. The proposed Burnett River Dam will have a capacity of up to 300,000 megalitres and make controlled discharges of water for agricultural, commercial, domestic and environmental uses. (Evidence is that the dam has made zero discharges so far) The impact of the dam on the protected areas ranges from inundation at full supply to inundation in a one in 100-year flood. These impacts are considered inconsistent with the management principles of the protected area. (So wreaking such mass destruction over such a vast area of highly valued ecology ‘like an atom bomb hit it’ would be unthinkable and definitely illegal, but individuals in government can commit such massive destruction and get away with it? It is STILL A HORRENDOUS CRIME made worse due to willful ignorance….”THEY KNEW…”)   

The proposed revocation will remove from the national park those areas that will be so impacted.  Subsequently, other areas will be added to the national park to replace the areas impacted, thus allowing the dam to proceed while preserving and enhancing the integrity of the national park. (LIES – in no way do a few scappy acres of degraded bushland in the outskirts of the Park replace the unique ecosystem of the river –research exact type- and the native vegetation along 45 kms of its banks.) 

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Pest fish found in Burnett River 19th Mar 2012
THE declared noxious pest fish species tilapia has been found in the Burnett River at Jones Weir, near Mundubbera. Last week, during a routine Fisheries Queensland survey, staff observed a number of tilapia. Tilapia was first officially recorded in the Boondooma Dam in May 2000 but until now, none had been found further downstream. Recent flooding in Queensland is thought to have brought the fish down the Boyne River from Boondooma dam.
from Freshwater Fishing & Stocking Association of Queensland Inc. under Cania Dam Monitoring
"As for the poor old Burnett River, nothing will now stop tilapia entering the system when Boondooma goes over.  Add to this sleepy cod from Wuruma and Bjelke. Paradise Dam will provide ideal still water habitat, which will ensure both species multiply quickly. This will pose serious problems for the lungfish. The same will apply to bass, mullet, and goodness knows how many smaller native species. So much for sustainability and biodiversity.
------------------------------------------------------------------ 
Lungfish research grant denied as population flounders
By Tony Moore   29 October 2010
Queensland has missed out on a $2 million grant to study the state's lungfish population, despite little being known about their numbers in the Brisbane region.
No state government agency has been able to calculate how many lungfish, now listed as a vulnerable species, inhabit the Wivenhoe, Somerset or North Pine dams, nor can they tell how many there are in the Brisbane River.
Dr Anne Kemp, from the University of Queensland’s Centre for Marine Science, wants government to do more to protect lungfish.
However, the Department of Primary Industries and Seqwater have confirmed there were no longer lungfish at Enoggera Reservoir.
Lungfish, a freshwater species classified as "vulnerable", are perhaps best known for stopping the construction of the Traveston Crossing Dam.
Queensland yesterday missed out on a $2 million Australian Research Council grant, which was designed to count Brisbane's lungfish and explore their breeding. When approached by brisbanetimes.com.au yesterday, no state government minister was aware of the ARC decision.
However, Seqwater was able to confirm that no lungfish eggs had been found at either the Wivenhoe or North Pine Dam since 2009.
That added weight to fears by two prominent lungfish experts that the population in the Brisbane River catchment is in decline.
University of Queensland Centre for Marine Science lungfish researcher Anne Kemp said she was disappointed so few people appeared to care that the lungfish was dying out.
"No-one listens to me. I don't know how aware they are of it. But you read the Minister for Primary Industries and Fisheries [Tim Mulherin] where he insists that lungfish are spawning regularly in the Brisbane River and I know they are not," Dr Kemp said.
"I presume he gets the information from DPI, but it's not true. It's not true."
Mr Mulherin was unavailable for comment yesterday. Other ministers unavailable were Climate Change and Sustainability Minister Kate Jones and Natural Resources Minister Stephen Robertson.
The DPI confirmed to brisbanetimes.com.au it had not done any recent lungfish population research in Brisbane River.
Dr Kemp said she had not found a lungfish egg downstream from Wivenhoe Dam for five years.
"You would collect a couple of hundred every season in the river, which was enough for my work," she said.
"But I have not found any since 2005-06, and that last year I found five eggs."
Dr Kemp said that was why she was initially excited to learn some lungfish eggs had been found at Logan's Inlet at Wivenhoe Dam.
However those eggs did not fertilise and no other lungfish eggs have been found in either Wivenhoe or North Pine dam, Seqwater confirmed last night.
"Surveys were completed during the 2009 breeding season [August to November] to determine if lungfish were spawning in Wivenhoe and North Pine Dams, where they were known to occur," Seqwater said in a statement.
"These surveys involved measuring the numbers of eggs in the shallow of the lakes and monitoring their survival over the breeding season. Although numerous eggs were discovered, no surviving juveniles were found."
It concluded that the varying water temperatures in dams meant they were not suited to lungfish breeding.
Meanwhile sources confirmed that 36 lungfish were found dead near the bottom of the Wivenhoe Dam spillway after stormwater was released a fortnight ago.
A lungfish found at Breakfast Creek this week was initially believed to have been washed downriver from Enoggera Reservoir, but was now considered more likely to have come in Enoggera Creek.
Twelve lungfish were recovered from the swirling pools at the bottom of the dam and returned.
In 2009, 80 lungfish died when Seqwater opened the gates at North Pine Dam.
Meanwhile Dr Kemp said she feared for the future of the species.
"No-one is prepared to look after them. No-one is prepared to help them," she said.
"They can just live in the reservoir until they die of old age and nobody in the government, or the government agencies seems to be able to do anything to help them."
---------------------------------------------------------
Paradise dam problem.  July 18, 2012                              
Did anyone see this story in yesterday’s courier mail.
THE Paradise Dam has become a $240 million killing machine for hundreds of fish, including the threatened lungfish.
The fishways which were an important condition of the dam being built in 2005 do not work and the dam's stepped spillway is a death trap.
The $20 million fishways were supposed to allow the animals to swim past the dam wall in either direction. Going upstream, they are transported by a "fish lift" which uses large bins to transport them over the dam. Going downstream, the fish are supposed to swim into a large pipe which delivers them to the bottom of the dam wall.
Instead they are being killed on the spillway, which - rather than being smooth - was designed with a series of steps to dissipate water energy. In overflows, fish, turtles and eels are smashed to their deaths on the concrete steps.
A study by government-owned agency SunWater found the spillway, 80km south-west of Bundaberg, was killing lungfish at such a rate that it would have a major impact on their numbers.
In 22 days, 733 fish were killed when washed over the dam's spillway, of which 152 were large lungfish.
SunWater yesterday declined to respond to questions on the fishways or the stepped wall.
A spokeswoman said its reports had gone to the Agriculture Department for a response.
"SunWater will work closely with the department ... and consult with stakeholders to address issues raised in the report," she said.
Water Minister Mark McArdle said he would immediately request a full briefing.
"If this information is correct it would be of serious concern to me and the Government," he said.
The controversial dam, finished in 2005, was an election promise by former Labor premier Peter Beattie. At the time, Labor was being pressured by the sugar industry for more irrigation supplies.
The then-Opposition backed farmers, labelling the government anti-infrastructure.
Barrister Chris McGrath, who lost a court case in which he argued the fishways did not work, said the study covered only fish that were found, not those swept away and focused only on 2010, not last year's floods in which more animals would have died.
"It must be complete carnage," he said.
Dr McGrath called on SunWater to convert the stepped structure to a smooth spillway.
and this cute photo in similar story on ABC net. Cheers, Ray


ADDITIONAL INFO:
(go to www.active-green.org/mailaction.php?id=157,  www.burnett.net.au/~garm & follow links, google Paradise Dam & Burnett River dam, esp. QCC submissions)
The President Burnett Water For All Group Statement of Key Issues, under Cultural heritage for Aboriginal people stated:
The Wakka Wakka Jinda, Gurang Gurang and other groups affirm:
... They would suffer strong spiritual loss, as cultural life is centred around the river, particularly for food. How can this be replaced or valued?
... The Paradise Dam cuts an important traditional pathway
(migratory trail/trading route/Rainbow Serpent Songline) which was crossed in the biennial Bunya Nut Gathering at the Bunya Mountains. (this is at a place called 3 mile rapids, 6 kms of gently falling rocky river beds in the main river channel, the river's major riffle area that oxygenated the water for the lungfish & all other species major breeding grounds just downstream - all now destroyed by the Paradise dam .... update 12.3.08)
... According to Mavis Hawkins, president of the Wakka Wakka Jinda group - "We believe in the stories our Elders told us of the sacred places in MURULLBAKGERA , the 'river of the breathing fish’, now known as the Burnett River.  The place where the turtle people lived and bred. (Increase & source site) These are special places to us and we do not want to loose them." (Mavis also identified another very significant women's place - a wailing wall for women in the Burnett River gorge - in a letter to editor printed in the Central and Northern Burnett Times. There are also caves there which I'm sure must have been significant - all inundated now)
Mavis' letter in the CNBT (NB: Mavis died not long after the dam became operational, probably of a broken heart.)
Aboriginal Views
It’s time to stop building the dams and weirs.
We, the indigenous people of this area, are totally against any more  destruction of this land and its natural water systems, or the natural flow of the rivers. WAMP (Burnett Water Allocation and Management Plan) are well  aware that we are against any more destruction.
Already there are too many dams and weirs on the Burnett;  water doesn't  flow any more in these parts;  you will drown in the mud, not the water.  Where are the fish going to go?  The Wakka Wakka People called the Burnett  River "Murullbakgera" meaning "rivers of the breathing fish."
Another significant Aboriginal legend is that where the turtle people lived there is a wailing wall for Women.
The Burnett and Barambah are places of great respect for our people - they are sacred to us. It saddens and deeply distresses me when I see the rivers not flowing free.  The government should concentrate more on fixing the roads instead of destroying land and rivers.  Is the voice of Aboriginal people to be silenced again?
M Hawkins, Gayndah
Additional to Jeff Seeney:  Are you aware that you will also be destroying a potential multi-million dollar eco-tourism industry on the river? Have you even had a LOOK at what you will destroy?  Are you aware that the dam site is apparently also situated on a major fault line, and explosions from Mt. Perry have caused earth tremors further along this fault line at Coalstoun Lakes? (documented) In 2003 there was a 4.6 earthquake in this area, with its epicentre 20 kms east of Monto – it’s tremors were reported over a radial distance of 80 kms....the Paradise Dam construction site, where the building of the mega dam was underway, was within this radius.

One of the many submissions in vehement opposition to this dam:
Burnett Water For All – Submission to the 2003 National Competition Policy assessment on Water Reform
Burnett Water For All (BWFA) is a broad base of community and industry groups that joined together when it became clear that the Queensland Government was going to forge ahead with approval for Paradise Dam (Burnett River Dam) without fully considering the social, economic and environmental outcomes. BWFA opposes Paradise Dam because it is not environmentally, socially, or economically viable. The group's mission statement is "…to seek more equitable and less damaging water solutions for the whole of the Burnett catchment".
The following groups/ organisations have joined together under the aims and objectives of BWFA to voice their common objection to the proposed construction of Paradise Dam on the Burnett River, Queensland.
• Gayndah, Kingaroy, Murgon, Wondai, Nanango Shire Councils
• Burnett Catchment Care Association
• Sunfish – Fraser Coast Branch
• Queensland Seafood Industry Association
• Freshwater Fishing & Stocking Association of Queensland
• Wakka Wakka Jinda Indigenous Group
• Wide Bay Burnett Conservation Council
• Coalstoun Lakes Farming Group
• Monto Landcare Group
• Biggenden chamber of tourism and development
• Group of affected landholders- grazing and citrus
• Concerned citizens
There are a number of other groups who share Burnett Water For All’s views but fear the
political ramifications of publicly opposing the Dam.
(Possibly contact all these people for support for ecocide indictment)

----------------------------------------------------
Proof that the lungfish is dying out, or already disappeared from the Brisbane River where it was introduced in what year? :  https://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/national/queensland/lungfish-research-grant-denied-as-population-flounders-20101028-175lt.html
Lungfish research grant denied as population flounders
By Tony Moore  29 October 2010
Queensland has missed out on a $2 million grant to study the state's lungfish population, despite little being known about their numbers in the Brisbane region.
No state government agency has been able to calculate how many lungfish, now listed as a vulnerable species, inhabit the Wivenhoe, Somerset or North Pine dams, nor can they tell how many there are in the Brisbane River.
Dr Anne Kemp, from the University of Queensland’s Centre for Marine Science, wants government to do more to protect lungfish. Photo: Tony Moore
Dr Anne Kemp, from the University of Queensland’s Centre for Marine Science, wants government to do more to protect lungfish.
However, the Department of Primary Industries and Seqwater have confirmed there were no longer lungfish at Enoggera Reservoir.
Lungfish, a freshwater species classified as "vulnerable", are perhaps best known for stopping the construction of the Traveston Crossing Dam.
Queensland yesterday missed out on a $2 million Australian Research Council grant, which was designed to count Brisbane's lungfish and explore their breeding. When approached by brisbanetimes.com.au yesterday, no state government minister was aware of the ARC decision.
However, Seqwater was able to confirm that no lungfish eggs had been found at either the Wivenhoe or North Pine Dam since 2009.
That added weight to fears by two prominent lungfish experts that the population in the Brisbane River catchment is in decline.
University of Queensland Centre for Marine Science lungfish researcher Anne Kemp said she was disappointed so few people appeared to care that the lungfish was dying out.
"No-one listens to me. I don't know how aware they are of it. But you read the Minister for Primary Industries and Fisheries [Tim Mulherin] where he insists that lungfish are spawning regularly in the Brisbane River and I know they are not," Dr Kemp said. "I presume he gets the information from DPI, but it's not true. It's not true."
Mr Mulherin was unavailable for comment yesterday. Other ministers unavailable were Climate Change and Sustainability Minister Kate Jones and Natural Resources Minister Stephen Robertson.
The DPI confirmed to brisbanetimes.com.au it had not done any recent lungfish population research in Brisbane River.
Dr Kemp said she had not found a lungfish egg downstream from Wivenhoe Dam for five years.
"You would collect a couple of hundred every season in the river, which was enough for my work," she said.
"But I have not found any since 2005-06, and that last year I found five eggs."
Dr Kemp said that was why she was initially excited to learn some lungfish eggs had been found at Logan's Inlet at Wivenhoe Dam.
However those eggs did not fertilise and no other lungfish eggs have been found in either Wivenhoe or North Pine dam, Seqwater confirmed last night.
"Surveys were completed during the 2009 breeding season [August to November] to determine if lungfish were spawning in Wivenhoe and North Pine Dams, where they were known to occur," Seqwater said in a statement.
"These surveys involved measuring the numbers of eggs in the shallow of the lakes and monitoring their survival over the breeding season. Although numerous eggs were discovered, no surviving juveniles were found."
It concluded that the varying water temperatures in dams meant they were not suited to lungfish breeding.
Meanwhile sources confirmed that 36 lungfish were found dead near the bottom of the Wivenhoe Dam spillway after stormwater was released a fortnight ago.
A lungfish found at Breakfast Creek this week was initially believed to have been washed downriver from Enoggera Reservoir, but was now considered more likely to have come in Enoggera Creek.
Twelve lungfish were recovered from the swirling pools at the bottom of the dam and returned.
In 2009, 80 lungfish died when Seqwater opened the gates at North Pine Dam.
Meanwhile Dr Kemp said she feared for the future of the species.
('Dinosaur' fish found in Brekky Creek)
"No-one is prepared to look after them. No-one is prepared to help them," she said.
"They can just live in the reservoir until they die of old age and nobody in the government, or the government agencies seems to be able to do anything to help them."

https://www.news-mail.com.au/news/turtles-lose-paradise-north-burnett/1307353/
Mar 16, 2012 - NORTH Burnett Regional Council will be forced to close the Paradise Dam Turtle Hatchery later this year, after the Qld Govt did not renew its ...
www.abc.net.au/news/2012-03-16/funding-shortfall-to...turtle-hatchery/3893998
Mar 15, 2012 - The Paradise Dam turtle hatchery near Biggenden, south-west of Bundaberg in southern Queensland, will close this year because the North ...
Funding shortfall to sink turtle hatchery
By Ben Lemberg 16 Mar 2012
The Paradise Dam turtle hatchery near Biggenden, south-west of Bundaberg in southern Queensland, will close this year because the North Burnett Council cannot afford to fund its operation.
The State Government established the hatchery as a safe breeding area for native turtles when the dam was built.
However, from July, the Government will not fund the $150,000-a-year running costs.
North Burnett Mayor Joy Jensen says council cannot afford to keep the hatchery open.
"We would like to see that turtle hatchery continue its good work," she said.
"We have had a council employee very heavily involved with the process of collecting the turtles, hatching them and then relocating those little baby turtles back to the exact same spot they were collected from.
"It was an integral part of maintaining the environment in that river.
"I don't believe it's the responsibility of the ratepayers of the North Burnett - we didn't build the dam nor did we create the issue with the impoundment.
"I think it is the responsibility of the State Government ... [to] continue funding that turtle hatchery."
However, the Queensland Department of Environment and Resource Management says council was aware the funding would be phased out.
It says a new turtle hatchery has been established in Bundaberg.
patti arany started this petition to The Queensland Government and North Burnett Regional Council
The loss of habit for the endangered turtles - also known as elseya albagula white-throat snapping turtles was triggered by the creation of Paradise Dam. "The environment is the key and the Turtles are absolutely unique . The hatchery was established in 2005 as part of a five-year program to ensure that turtle populations in the Burnett River were reproducing effectively following construction of the dam.


www.ecosmagazine.com/?act=view_file&file_id=EC133p14.pdf
River Cod, the Mary River Turtle and the ... Paradise Dam project before it, the dam .... Freshwater Turtle Conservation & Research Association (AFTCRA Inc.)
(CSIRO were very supportive of Graeme Armstrong and the fight to stop the dam)
Paradise revisited 
Premier Peter Beattie has said the Traveston Crossing Dam will be built, ‘feasible or not’.8 His determination, and the ensuing conflicts, echo events surrounding construction of the Paradise Dam on the Burnett River in 2003. The Paradise Dam was apparently delivered as a result of a commitment made during the 2001 elections, despite being repeatedly rejected as unviable.  At the time, former Queensland Minister for the Environment, Dean Wells, made the unguarded admission that an election undertaking overrides any studies’ findings.9  At its naming ceremony in December 2005, Premier Beattie said that construction of the Paradise Dam had ‘raised the bar for environmental construction of dams and land rehabilitation in Australia’. (A very very bad joke considering the dam is a mass killer of all the river’s life…and WHAT land rehabilitation? Show evidence ANYTHING was done to that 200 hectares of partly cleared scrub added on to the NP as an ‘offset’ for destroying 45kms of unique and rare prime bio-rich habitat on the river? I bet nothing was done at all! Research) Particular initiatives included $23 million spent on a fishway to allow passage of the Australian Lungfish, revegetation and regeneration of over 200 hectares of land to replace inundated habitat, and a hatchery for the Elseya Turtle. (Only lasted a couple of years and then dumped -  research) But when measured against core values and strategic priorities established by the World Commission on Dams (WCD) in 2000,10  the dam has apparently failed. A World Wildlife Fund (WWF) Australia report11 singled out the Paradise Dam’s score for comment. ‘In addition to economic concerns and a lack of transparency, there are also serious environmental impacts expected from the project, most notably on the Queensland Lungfish … In WWF’s view, this project fails to observe WCD Strategic Priorities: 1 for gaining public acceptance, 2 on comprehensive options assessment and 4 for sustaining rivers and livelihoods.’ ‘We refute these claims,’ Deputy Premier Bligh says. ‘The community provided feedback on the Paradise Dam during the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) process with more than 90% of the 300 submissions received in favour of the project. (Unfortunately, the locals all LOVED the dam for the work it brought to the area and the money to be made – these ppl were the responders and the only people targeted for submissions – none of us  were asked to make one) ‘The public were also kept well informed of the project prior to and throughout its construction with regular newsletters and other public communications. (Outrageous propaganda for schools!) The EIS also examined 11 different options for the dam. The 2003 Water Reform Assessment Report by the National Competition Council concluded that the project was both economically viable and ecologically sustainable.’ (The National Competition Council also needs to be investigated and possibly indicted for criminal negligence, bearing in mind THEY KNEW all the experts had agreed that the dam would be a complete disaster on both counts, as it has transpired)  On the other hand, a least-cost planning study conducted by the Institute for Sustainable Futures for the Queensland Government,12 prior to the Paradise Dam’s construction, identified an alternative ‘hybrid option’ that included water use efficiency systems. The option fulfilled the same requirements as the Paradise Dam at similar cost, but with ‘significant additional financial, social and environmental benefits’. The report was made a cabinet document, removing it from public scrutiny, but it has recently resurfaced on the Save the Mary River website. (FIND A COPY! This is integral to the ecocide case)
The lungfish is thought to have survived virtually unchanged for at least 100 million years, (See: David Attenborough on Queensland Lungfish and Wikipedia “Queensland Lungfish” in particular ‘conservation status’ – “capture in the wild is strictly prohibited” …yet HUNDREDS of them have already been smashed to death over all the Burnett River dams, an ecocide that will continue to happen with every flood until they are extinct.) and is the closest living relative to the ancestral fish that gave rise to all land vertebrates, including humans. It occurs naturally only in the Burnett and Mary rivers. Internationally respected expert, Professor Jean Joss of Macquarie University, spearheaded the lungfish’s EPBC Act listing in 2003. She has repeatedly said the Traveston Crossing Dam could push the fish to the brink of extinction. ‘Lungfish will survive in dams but they won’t spawn. They need shallow, slow-flowing riffles that encourage the growth of weeds and aquatic plants on which they can lay their eggs,’ she says. Her international colleagues are helping highlight the scientific importance of the lungfish to Premier Beattie and Federal Minister for the Environment and Heritage, Senator Ian Campbell.
Palaeontologist and evolutionary developmental biologist, Professor Per Ahlberg of Uppsala University, Sweden, is coordinating the international response. ‘The Australian Lungfish is irreplaceable, and the international community is appalled and dismayed that a wealthy and conservation-aware country such as Australia could be prepared to, in effect, deliberately drive such a scientifically important animal to extinction,’ he says. ‘There is a whole slew of important developmental genetics and morphological evolutionary biology questions relating to our anatomy – such as the origin of digits – that can only be answered with reference to the Australian Lungfish. If it dies out, these questions will remain unanswered forever.’
Premier Beattie says concerns about the lungfish (and the Mary River Cod) will be addressed with a fishway, such as the ‘successful’ example on the Paradise Dam. Opponents say that even if a fishway works, it won’t replace lost spawning grounds. And Beattie’s assurances fall amid claims that a report, stating that lungfish in the Walla Weir (a smaller impoundment built before the Paradise Dam) are no longer spawning, had been shredded. (Plus evidence the fish lift HAS NOT WORKED AT ALL has never conveyed lungfish!)  ‘I was contacted by someone at the Department of Primary Industries who told me they had been directed to destroy any information they were holding on endangered species in the Mary River,’ Professor Joss says. The report,13 which resurfaced after the shredding claims became public, warns against any further water infrastructure being built before thorough studies into lungfish ecology are conducted. Professor Joss has suggested that Premier Beattie set up a lungfish research and conservation centre, which would do the necessary research before the dam is built, provide a pool of animals to replenish wild populations, and act as a resource for international research. The scientific community must now wait for Senator Campbell to review the dam proposal and its implications under the EPBC Act. Under the legislation the dam should not go ahead, but only four projects out of 1913 development proposals that have been reviewed under the EPBC Act have been knocked back.14 ‘The EPBC Act should stop this dam,  but if it doesn’t give us the results we need, then this will go to the High Court. It will be another Franklin Dam issue,’ Noosa Mayor Bob Abbot warns.

Letter to the Innisfail Advocate re the Tully Dam (which was QUASHED due to it's absolute INSANITY)
No Waste
David Bohanna (Tablelander 25.10.94) said that we should "dam up whatever water is going to waste".
Perhaps some fisherman could explain to him why water that carries oxygen, silt and organic matter down to the sea, NEVER goes to waste.
Or perhaps he could heed the climatologists who have explained that without these processes, the seas cannot release sulphur compounds into the sky to trigger the rain on which the land relies.
The way to survival is clear - less waste, less greed and a greater respect for the natural processes that have sustained and protected life on this planet for a billion years.
Lawrie Williams, Millaa Millaa


Dams are one of the major causes of drought, along with land clearing.
Letter to Editor Innisfail Advocate, November 1994
If Tully plan is serious, kill the beasts
Sir, If the Tully Dam promised by Tom Gilmore and other leading figures is a serious suggestion, then let us look equally seriously at protecting the wild animals in the proximity of the proposed dam. When dams are flooded in Tasmania and elsewhere, it is seen that many thousands of creatures are displaced. Most are doomed to die of shock, starvation and exposure, as few animals can find places not already occupied by other wildlife, and then only after conflict. Luckily, the plan here is to harvest all those wasted trees beforehand. This will provide an ideal opportunity to protect the wildlife in the surrounding area. I propose therefore that a very high wire mesh fence be erected so that when the bulldozers come in, all the animals in the area to be dammed can be driven to one end and trapped. There they can be disposed of humanely rather than being allowed to escape into the undisturbed habitat and suffer a lingering death. Now, let’s not have any moral qualms about this - those animals will have to die anyway, so it should be quickly and cheaply. And who is more suited to the task than the instigators of the project.   I would therefore like to see Mr. Tom Gilmore come along and personally help dispatch them.  A heavy club like the type used to harvest baby seals might be best. After all, you can't stop progress.
Lawrie Williams, Milla Millaa


CNBT 31.10.03
Rare Parrot at Dam Site
A reported sighting of a bird which could be a Coxen's Double-Eyed Fig Parrot in vine scrub on the Burnett River near Mt. Blandy is a "significant issue" if it can be verified because of the threat from the proposed Burnett River Dam. The bird is listed as "endangered with a very high risk of extinction", which triggers the recovery objectives of the Action Plan for Australian Birds 200, which involves "locating, protecting and maintaining remaining populations" and "increasing extent, quality and connectivity of habitat", all of which will be further destroyed by the dam.

from Rural Weekly, August 2003
Dam(n) politicians
In this day and age when the gap between producers and environmentalists is getting narrower, I find it incredible that the gap between producers of different products is getting wider. I live in Gayndah on the Burnett. Our livelihood comes from cattle and citrus and water allocations which sustain our town as a small but prosperous community which expands every year with the influx of pickers. However, the State Governments has given the go ahead to an enormous dam down the road which will increase the cost of water massively due to construction costs and are attempting to cut our water allocations by half in order to fill the dam.

Where is this expensive water destined?  To Bundaberg sugar growers of course. How will they afford it? With a hidden subsidy of course. Any why is this happening? Because Labour holds the seat of Bundaberg by a small margin and the Nationals hold the Federal seat.  So Labour approved it to keep their seat and David Kemp, the Federal Environment Minister, rubber stamped it to keep the National's seat.

Neither party gives a damn about the real issue or the people of the region. I am sure they would hang out the cane growers to dry as quick as us if they were in a different position.

All the State government departments which developed the Water Allocation Management Plan said the dam was not an economic or environmentally sensible option, yet Beattie said he would build one to win the last election, and that's that. All the departments, the staff who worked for years on the plan and the millions of dollars it cost, have been tossed out the window.

Beattie has admitted privately that it is wrong, and simply a political issue and Tom Barton the Minister of State Development is a dam evangelist.  Not only is he the single shareholder in Burnett Water, the company formed to arrange a dodgy EIS and gain all approvals, but he has publicly disgraced himself by refusing to talk to a local Gayndah orchardist who dared to confront him on the issue. To add to his disgrace, he slandered this farmer in parliament, calling him "greedy" among other things, and then, being a gutless politician, refuses to re-state his comments in public.

The Burnett River dam will totally destroy the ecology of the entire river, ruin the fishing industry, increase salinity in the basin, including Bundaberg, and will be paid for with your taxes no matter where you live. Where is a real farm lobby group when you need it?

Graeme Armstrong, Gayndah

Letters to Editor NOT PRINTED in response to Jeff Seeney's letter published in SBT & CNBT, October 2003
Letter 1
Isn't it typical of politicians to respond to criticism by trying to cut down and belittle the people of the community who are out there fighting for what is right.
I do not find it "hysterical" that the Inland Burnett with 40% of the region's population will end up with 24% of the region's water resources.
I do not find it hysterical that the Queensland Government wants to waste hundreds of millions of dollars on building a dam which they themselves have admitted is not economically or environmentally viable, when there are cheaper, more sustainable options. These alternatives are outlined in the Burnett Region Least Cost Planning Study.
I do not find it hysterical that, given the opportunity, the Opposition would hungrily and blindly pursue the same course of action to prove that building Paradise Dam was their idea in the first place. One would hope we'd have learnt by our mistakes over the past 40 years - the Murray Darling springs to mind.
I also do not find it hysterical the way in which landholders of our community have been harassed, bullied and pressured throughout the land acquisition process by Burnett Water.
I do, however, find it hysterical that Mr. Seeney uses words like "blatant dishonesty" and "gross misinformation" and states that we have no long term interest in the future of our river and its communities.  We are the people, we are part of the community.  I challenge Mr. Seeney to point out the lies and misinformation and explain how we do not have anything BUT the river and the future of our communities in mind.
Sometimes it is better to swallow your pride and get on with the job of fighting for what is best for the community and not the party.
Lyndy Marshall, Gayndah


Letter 2 (an edited version was printed in the SBT)
Paradise Damned
Could Jeff Seeney please tell us exactly where "increasingly hysterical anti-dam campaigners" have used "blatant dishonesty and gross misinformation"? (SBT 17.10.03)  This has been the modus operandi of the State Govt., despite the $300 million a year that has been spent on keeping the government honest & transparent, beginning with their first claim when revoking the river section to be inundated from the National Park, that tagging on a bit of degraded scrub around the outside of the park would "replace the areas impacted, thus allowing the dam to proceed while preserving and enhancing the integrity of the Park",  when it will completely gut the National Park, the magnificent river section being the jewel in its crown.

In addition to removing the river from its protective National Park status, the State Govt. has:-bullied the affected landowners and compulsorily acquired their properties when they refused to sell;  extinguished Native Title Rights of the local Indigenous People, against their will;  suppressed or completely ignored authoritative Environmental Impact Assessments & Economic Feasibility studies, stating that "an election promise overrides all other environmental or economic considerations";  made outrageous and untenable environmental statements through Burnett Water's propaganda (such as promising to replace the 6 kms of rocky river rapid riffles); ignored climate change and the recent devastating drought in determining the yield & environmental flow effects of the dam, changed Water Resource Plan requirements to make the dam comply with criteria,  bullied departmental staff,  arranged a dodgy EIS and have shown that they will stop at nothing to build this provably unwanted (by the majority), unnecessary & unaffordable White Elephant at one of Australia's most internationally & culturally significant places, where the Rainbow Serpent Songline crosses Murubakgira, "River of the Breathing Fish".

The anti-dam lobby is asking that before people blindly believe Government assurances, that inundating 75% of their LAST intact habitat on the Burnett River will NOT adversely affect the listed-as-vulnerable lungfish, as-yet-unlisted Elseya turtle (update – it was put straight onto the ‘critically endangered’ list) and all the other rare and endangered native flora & fauna on the river, and their assurances that the dam will have economic benefit for all, they get the EXPERTS view *  who all concur that a mega-dam at Paradise will be an unmitigated ecological and economic catastrophe which will, without doubt, render these pre-historic animals extinct on the river, after 100 million years, and inevitably cause the demise of the entire river system, severely degraded as it already is, with unknown detrimental flow-on effects to coastal fishing and the Great Barrier Reef.

As People Power world-wide is bringing the era of the big dam to an end, and with dam de-construction  & river regeneration snowballing in the U.S., the anti-dam campaigners are calling on the Beattie Government to halt construction while a reputable, independent umpire reviews all the data and makes a recommendation to the Govt. and the community at large, as suggested by Jim Barton, Engineer at Kingaroy Shire Council.  They are also calling on the Govt. to release another independent study, commissioned by Govt. itself & undertaken by the Sydney University of Technology's Institute for Sustainable Futures, which details an hybrid option it claims is highly preferable to the construction of the dam, but which the Govt. withdrew from public scrutiny by making it a cabinet document - this will enable the people themselves to decide which way forward for their future. 

Now that wasn't too hysterical, was it Jeff?

Maureen Brannan, Murgon (Letter printed slightly edited)


--------------------------------------------------
Lungfish threatened by Queensland dam construction
Y
Y
AM - Saturday, 18 October , 2003  Reporter: Bruce Honeywill
HAMISH ROBERTSON: Now to Queensland, and the fight for survival by a species that's been around since the time of the tyrannosaurus rex.
The air-breathing lungfish has remained largely untouched by evolution for more than 100 million years, a direct genetic link to the days of the dinosaurs.
But as Bruce Honeywill reports, while the Federal Government has just declared the lungfish to be a vulnerable species, its future may still be at risk with the Queensland Government's plan to build a dam on one of the two rivers in which the lungfish occurs naturally.
(sound of rushing water)
BRUCE HONEYWILL: Biologist Graeme Armstrong is knee-deep in a pool in the Burnett River, attempting to save a strangled lungfish.
(sound of rushing water)
He lifts the large animal, water dripping from its mossy back, more than a metre long. The creature's belly is orange-apricot, its eyes as old as time.
A biologist drains as the animal lies across his outstretched arms.
GRAEME ARMSTRONG: These are the ripple zones where you get lots of shallow water, and you get lots of vegetation growing and the lungfish needs aquatic vegetation to lay their eggs in.The young stay in there for up to five years.
BRUCE HONEYWILL: Graeme Armstrong releases the fish into shallow water.
(sound of rushing water)It wriggles away.
At Sydney's Macquarie University, Professor Jean Joss has studied the lungfish since 1984. She's regarded as the world's leading expert on the animal.
PROF JEAN JOSS: Lungfish are the closest living ancestor to the land vertebrate. It's really the species of interest if we want to look for the pre-adaptation of the life on land and look at where we came from.
BRUCE HONEYWILL: Last month the Federal Government formally declared the lungfish a vulnerable species.
Gerard Early is head of the Approvals and Wildlife Division from the Commonwealth Department of Environment.
GERARD EARLY: They are listed as vulnerable and not critically endangered. So, I mean, we've still got a good chance if we take the right measures that we can look after the lungfish as best we can.
BRUCE HONEYWILL: The river systems in which the lungfish lives is heavily exploited with dams and weirs that supply irrigation water to Queensland's sugar and citrus industries. And now the Queensland Government is about to construct another large dam on the Burnett River to honour an election promise from a previous state poll. But in the upper Burnett, even irrigators like Les Darrow oppose the Paradise Dam.
LES DARROW: As any good irrigator knows, water quality is as important as quantity. The Paradise Dam is going to breach many of the environmental flows that are needed to keep the river healthy, and if we don't have a healthy river system then we don't have good quality water.
BRUCE HONEYWILL: And biologist Graeme Armstrong says the dam will destroy the breeding habitat of the lungfish.
GRAEME ARMSTRONG: There is absolutely no way you can have a management plan which suits the needs of irrigators and the needs of lungfish spawning habitat.
BRUCE HONEYWILL: But Gerard Early from Environment Australia says he's happy with the Queensland Government's approach to ensuring breeding habitat remains after the construction of the Paradise Dam.
GERARD EARLY: We'll be encouraging fish ways for example which allow fish to move through dams and weirs, we can try and establish new habitat which is suitable for lungfish spawning.
PROF JEAN JOSS: This is a resource that we hold for the rest of the world. We don't just hold it for ourselves. They don't occur, not this species, with the primitive features that it’s got, for us to study and learn about where we came from. There's no resource like that anywhere else in the world.
HAMISH ROBERTSON: Professor Jean Joss from Sydney's Macquarie University, ending that report from Bruce Honeywill.
--------------------------------------------- 
Mozambique mouth brooder ‘tilapia’ declared a noxious and threatening alien species to the lungfish in Queensland.”  “Save the Lungfish” Nature.com Pdf 2/7/2006
“Lungfish passage through fishways and the impacts of restricted passage at Paradise Dam for Australian lungfish in the Burnett River”. Jim Tait, senior environmental scientist Econcern Enterprise Consultancy perepared for the Wide Bay Burnett Conservation Council Inc. v Burnett Water Pty Ltd. 22/6/2009.

                                      
Committee, Environment (REPS)
Subject:  Submission to the Inquiry into flying-fox management in the eastern states
Date:  Friday, 18 November 2016 6:17:09 PM
A Gondwana Mecca
I begin this submission with a tale of flying fox colonies in Australia’s newest yet paradoxically, oldest National Park, the primordial remnant known as the Goodnight
Scrub, so named due to the dense, tangled-vine rainforest – if cattle ever ventured inside, they would never find their way out so the farmer could say ‘goodnight’. The thickets make a perfect home for the elusive Coxen’s double-eyed fig parrot, along with a cornucopia of other native species - flying fox colonies feast on the fig-lined banks of the last intact free-flowing stretches along the Burnett River that runs through the National Park, the jewel in its crown and its beating heart. Figs of course are Flying Foxes preferred fruit, along with other rainforest fruits such as lillypilly, and they thrive along the river’s snaking bends, returning each night to a favoured old-growth rainforest giant to roost, and breed, in peace and tranquillity. The Paradise Parrot once shared this habitat, so named after the old gold-mining township that was established on the banks, now a cultural heritage site. Many eco-tourism ventures have sprung up along the banks of these last protected biodiverse stretches of river, some in collaboration with the Aboriginal Custodians who have numerous cultural heritage sites, for example the Women’s Wailing Wall & Cave in the gorge and the crossing place of the Rainbow Serpent Songline at 3-Mile Rapids (six kilometers of gently falling rocky-bed rapids, the foundation of their kinship-totemic system, natural riffles that oxygenates the breeding grounds for the lungfish and turtle downstream). There is an interpretation centre high on the banks from where Aboriginal Rangers conduct tours to Turtle Island, the only safe breeding place for the unique Elseya turtle, and to a unique Zamia palm grove with ancient trees many hundreds of years old. The indigenous name for the river is ‘Murullbakgera’, meaning “Rivers of the Breathing Fish where the turtle people live”. Accommodation to suit all demographics are available along those stretches; basic camping facilities, glamping, cabins and lodges, some in prime sites with breathtaking views of the valley, unchanged since Gondwana… there are day and night canoeing trips viewing the lungfish and turtles and the dawn & dusk outgoing and returning flocks of flying fox – glimpses of the rare Coxen’s fig parrot are not uncommon.

Except this is all fantasy of what could now be happening had Peter Beatty not been hell bent on building the Paradise Dam after an election promise that he stated “overrides all other
considerations”, wilfully ignoring all the Environmental groups, the CSIRO and lungfish experts from all over the world, including Australia’s foremost expert, Professor Jean Joss at Macquarie University, and despite commissioning a report that told him exactly what the experts were telling him (including Sir David Attenborough) …that damming this river at this site would be an unthinkable ecological catastrophe that could well lead to the lungfish and the turtle’s extinction on the river. He immediately made that report a ‘Cabinet Document’ so no-one would be able to view it for 30 years, and with the blessings of the federal government, went ahead with the worst case of ecocide in Australia’s history, for which he may one day face an international criminal court. Since the super-dam was built, there have been three mass mortality events of lungfish and turtles. Lungfish numbers have crashed and there has been no recruitment.

A terrible irony in this came a few years later when Gayndah was being ‘plagued’ with flying foxes roosting in people’s gardens – the mayor was pictured pointing down the Burnett River stating that there were plenty of places the flying fox could go down the river….except their food trees downstream had all been drowned with her blessing. Flying Fox prefer native fruits above other introduced fruits and had those 45 kilometers of food trees not been wiped out by the Paradise Dam, there may not have been any flying fox problems in Gayndah.

--------------------o0o-----------------------
(My comment) It is insanely hypocritical that we place so much value on, and give unlimited legal recourse to the murder of one individual human animal, of which there are nearly 8 billion on the planet, but absolute zero value, zero recourse to justice, to the ‘murder’ unnecessary destruction, of thousands of other animals, birds, insects, plants, many of which are close to extinction, and of entire ecosystems, pillars of evolution hundreds of million years in the building, bringing it crashing down into oblivion with impunity. It is the same perverse, degenerate rationale that is expressed in the oft repeated quotation: one death is a tragedy but a million is a statistic. On a much smaller scale, it is expressed in the way that big banks receive public bail-outs because they are ‘too big to fail’, while the citizen is punished severely for defaulting on a relatively miniscule loan.
 Polly Higgins: A Law for Life
When Thu, February 27, 5:30pm – 10:00pm
Where Stichting Pakhuis De Zwijger Piet Heinkade 181K 1019 HC Amsterdam, The Netherlands (map)
Description Polly Higgins: A Law for Life Is mankind moving towards a next level in the development of civilization? Stichting Pakhuis De Zwijger Piet Heinkade 181K 1019 HC Amsterdam 27/02/14: 17.30 We believe people are now facing a fundamental choice at the crossroads for the sustainable future of our Earth. It is up to all of us now to decide whether we make crimes against the planet illegal under the UN Rome Statute. Our guest of honor, Polly Higgins spoke at the seminar the Future of Ecosystems organized Oktober 30th, 2013 by NERN KNAW-NIOO. She is open for further dialogue about the Law on Ecocide in a meeting with her friends in the Amsterdam. Joris Lohman and Geert Ritsema will complete the picture with their point of view on agriculture, environment and modern campaigning for a sustainable future. Verdieping21 has initiated an interactive documentary film about Polly’s ambition. What does this law against ecocide mean? How could this law be implemented? What would be the effects on our daily lives? Different stakeholders share opposite views and insights on this subject. Together we try to examine what our future could look like. With or without this law in action. Admission is free. Please 'reserveer' on top of this page to RSVP: http://www.dezw​ijger.nl/98191/​nl/polly-higgin​s-a-law-for-lif​e
Join us for a cutting edge lecture for the public and the legal profession – co-hosted by Australian Earth Laws Alliance (AELA) and the University of New South Wales (UNSW). Polly Higgins will explore the need for an international law of ecocide.  
UK lawyer proposes new legal framework to protect the environment
By Bel Tromp
Monday, 12 September  2011

War crimes, crimes against humanity, genocide - these are powerful concepts, enshrined in international law and designed to protect the sacredness of human life.
But who protects the environment? Who steps in to stand up for mother nature when a person or corporation causes large scale destruction?
Polly Higgins is a lawyer from the United Kingdom. She is lobbying the UN to create a new crime which calls this crime 'ecocide'. Under this crime, CEOs would face jail if their companies caused large scale environmental damage in the course of earning a profit.
Polly is visiting Australia this week as part of a world tour, and she has her sights set on the controversial practice of fracking, used increasingly in coal-seam gas mining.
For more information about Polly's ideas and her speaking dates see her website, http://www.pollyhiggins.com or http://www.realfoodnetwork.com.au
Michael Cathcart speaks with Polly Higgins, lawyer and author of 'Eradicating Ecocide: Laws and Governance to Prevent the Destruction of our Planet' (Shepheard-Walwyn, London, 2010)
Audio
[TRANSCRIPT mb]
Michael Cathcart:  War crimes, crimes against humanity, genocide… these are very powerful concepts in international law and of course they’re designed to protect human life. But what code of international law protects the environment when a person or a corporation causes large scale destruction. Polly Higgins is a lawyer from the UK and she’s calling for the declaration of a new crime and she calls it ‘ecocide’ – in fact she’s the author of a book called ‘Eradicating Ecocide – Laws and governance to prevent the destruction of our planet’, and she’s visiting Australia this week as part of a world tour and one of her concerns is the practice of ‘fracking’ which of course we know is often used in coal-seam gas mining. Welcome to Bush Telegraph. You’re proposing a crime of ‘ecocide’ – where did you get this idea?
Polly Higgins:  Well I was speaking at the climate negotiations up in Copenhagen nearly two years ago, and I was discussing an earlier proposal that had put into the United Nations a couple of years before, and that was for Earth Rights or Planetary Rights – that’s the extension of just as we have human rights, the recognition that the Earth itself has rights. Now I know that sounds slightly mad to some people but in truth it’s a way of using a legal mechanism where we can start understanding and putting in place protection for the fostering of life, if you like, the understanding that just as I have the human right to life, and my human right to life is protected on a one-to-one level for the crime of murder or homicide or on an industrial level, the international crime of genocide, so the Earth’s right to life surely then needs to be protected by the International crime of ecocide.
MC:  It’s an idea that in the ether isn’t it, I mean Christopher Stone wrote a book called “Should Trees have standing?” – Maud Barlow has written about the rights of nature… I suppose too Australians might be on your wavelength here because here in Australia we have the idea that the environment has the right to own water – we were talking about it on the program today – irrigators have rights to water but so does the environment. And presumably if you believe the environment has rights then they have to be enforceable somehow.
PH:  Well this is it.. we have this strange situation that in fact, as a lawyer, I just don’t have the tools of the trade  to protect my No.1 client, the Earth, at the moment. There are an awful lot of laws out there that are environmental laws but in fact they’re not protecting the planet – what they are doing is protecting the interests of largely the corporate world. [And it could be argued, compartmentalising again, where only the symptoms are addressed, and only in a random, fragmented and arbitrary way, so that only one miniscule part of ‘the planet’ is actually being legally protected.]
MC:  Well the corporate world has rights in law because the corporation is seen as a person before the law, so you’re really proposing it seems to me that the environment is in some sense a person.
PH:  Yep, in essence that’s correct. Or certainly a ‘Living Being’ may be more accurate here. Because one of the problems we have is that the corporation is seen as actually what’s known as the ‘fictional’ person  - it is recognised at the end of the day that the corporation is just a piece of paper, whatever their articles of association are, and when you have a fictional person there’s very little you can impose in terms of remedies. It really does come down to fines most of the time because there’s no point putting a piece of paper behind bars.  And what I’m proposing here by creating a crime of ecocide, ‘crime’ attaches itself to real persons, so to the CEO, to the directors…
MC:  So we actually prosecute the CEO and if the CEO loses, what, the CEO goes to jail?
PH:  Yes that’s correct. So what we have here is a mechanism that will impose responsibility on real people, not the fictional person, and that’s very important here because at the moment what we’re seeing is that the fictional person, the corporations are sidestepping their responsibilities in terms of creating profits, and profit that arises out of mass damage and destruction.
MC:  Give us some examples of what you would call ‘ecocide’.
PH:  Well fracking is a very good example of it in fact and that’s clearly a very contentious issue in this country as it is in quite a few countries at the moment. So what we’re having here is damage and destruction that’s being caused every day, not just in this country but in many other countries, by various different forms of mining extractive industries. Now I’m not against profit per se but I am against profit that arises out of damage and destruction, and especially when we’re looking at damage and destruction that is accruing, it’s accumulative - it’s a death by a thousand cuts. It’s happening here, it’s happening there, it’s happening on other continents, and the cumulative effect is absolutely enormous.
MC:  We should say that the CSG industry in Australia says it doesn’t use the chemicals involved in fracking that it has other methods, so we’ll just leave that question open for further examination I guess.  So we’re thinking about deforestation in the Amazon rainforest, nuclear testing, those kind of things?
PH:  Yea, this is absolutely right. Maybe if we look at deforestation as an example. What we have at the moment is an ever increasing body of environmental legislation which I say is not fit for the purpose because in effect what it’s doing is its protecting corporate interests. So what we do is we give permits – we give permits to pollute, we give permits for deforestation. In fact we have a lot of deforestation happening, particularly in the Amazon, that is illegal and what happens there is that corporations factor it in as an externality that maybe once in a hundred times they will get caught, but because they’re a fictional person in law, all that can be done is that they’re fined. And so therefore the person who’s buying maybe a piece of garden furniture in another continent altogether, is unwittingly paying a little bit extra to cover that eventuality, where either its litigated or the fine is paid up, or the company can close down and reopen again tomorrow under another name and continue business as usual.
MC:  Sure – it’s no different from the tradesman who regards parking fines as part of the cost of doing business, he just parks wherever he wants to…he knows he’s going to make money in the long run.
PH:  Absolutely, yes.
MC:  So is there a court system where this crime of ecocide could be heard? I guess you’re looking at the International Criminal Court, are you?
PH:  That’s exactly right. And the International Criminal Court has just set up, only a matter of a few years ago back in 2002, in fact it only started practicing in 2005 and we’ve only had 5 or 6 years of cases going through, but what we have seen is that because we have an International Criminal Court, it acts as a very powerful disincentive – believe it or not genocide numbers have now dropped as a result of having the ICC in place. To actually think that you may end up being dragged in front of the court in The Hague for crimes against humanity or genocide, it acts as a powerful disincentive. Prior to that we didn’t have an ICC and often the countries where genocide and crimes against humanity were happening, tend to have governments that are often complicit in the crime itself.
MC:  Polly, one of the arguments against this kind of international sanction is that it goes over the heads of parliaments and therefore it said that it compromises the sovereign rights of individual countries. Don’t countries have environmental laws already?
PH:  Well we do, we all have different environmental laws – this is my point that actually it’s not stopping the damage and destruction, not at all. And more than that, we’re actually dealing with damage and destruction that is trans-boundary. Very often for instance pollution can happen in one country and turn up in another, for instance. Also if we’re dealing with excess greenhouse gases which is a hugely important issue when it comes to the extractive industry then of course the damage and destruction can be happening on one continent but there can be a possible knock-on cumulative impact on other continents, for instance with rising sea levels and such like.  So there a whole lot of issues around a corporation that may be registered for instance in Britain but its activities are happening in Canada, with the   tar sands [update 27.2.14 - 5 years after this interview:  Mounting evidence that tar sands activity is causing health problems – how prescient is this woman!] commercial tar extraction there, or down in Colombia for instance…   So we’re dealing with something that needs to be dealt with at an international level, not country by country.

MC:  Are there any measures of international law which already protect the environment under certain circumstances, say during a war?
PH:  Yea…  Interestingly what we have already under the Rome Statute, and it’s the Rome Statute that I’m calling to have simply amended to add ecocide to it, we have under that, under article 2b, during wartime it is already a crime to damage and destroy the environment, over a certain size, duration and impact.  So it’s actually an anomaly in law that here during wartime we can’t go down a certain avenue and yet during peacetime we can do it!
MC:  So you mean the sort of large scale defoliation that we saw in Vietnam is now considered a crime is it?
PH:  That’s exactly right in fact that what it arose out of. The reason there was that it was recognised if we continued with a huge chemical warfare we just wouldn’t be alive today, we literally would not be having this conversation.  And so it was recognised by the international community we have to close the door to that and we have to close it very fast and that’s why it was made a war crime not to damage and destroy the environment over a certain size and duration. So I’m saying quite simply, well, if that exists during war time, then it should be existing during peace time… in all time in fact.
MC:  Now Polly, you say this should be a strict liability offence, that is that the CEO of a given company would go to jail if it could be shown his company had cause this kind of environmental damage … that seems pretty rough…so its regardless of the intention of the company  - the damage is caused – you do the time…
PH: Yes, absolutely.  And in fact, in truth, this is a softer option than having intent, compared if you like to the crime of murder. With murder, you have to have intent – you’re going to kill someone, but death by dangerous driving …you don’t intend it – you may well be driving over the speed limit down the road but if a little child runs out in the road, there’s no intention of killing that child at all, and that’s recognised however that you have actually taken away a life, you will still end up in prison for it. The prison sentence reflects the difference in that, whereas with murder, if you had intended to murder that child, you would be looking at a lifetime imprisonment. [Wow – It can be proven then that Peter Beattie wilfully annihilated all that endangered life on Murullbadgera in full knowledge of what he was doing – and all those parliamentarians were complicit of course – that he MURDERED all those animals and rare plants that lived along 45 kms of the primeval river!] 
With death by dangerous driving you’d only be looking at three to four years… certainly in the UK. So it’s a rather similar equation here. With ecocide I’m saying that corporations, CEOs and directors don’t sit down around the directors table and say: what are we going to destroy today? [Peter Beattie’s cabinet did!] That’s not how it works – this is really a crime of consequence and there are good people working in companies creating a massive amount of damage and destruction here. So I’m not actually interested in hounding people per se – if anything, what I’m doing is I’m saying: Look, we close the door to damage and destruction, and we open the door to the innovating  solutions in the opposite direction. Because ultimately at the end of the day, this is also about assisting corporations – they need the signals to see where their financial investments are coming from so that they can plan ahead. And at the moment an energy company is not getting those financial signals to become the clean energy companies that we so desperately require, and they’re stuck with sort of dinosaur technologies.  What happens here is that we turn off the tap from the flow of money going into damaging and destructive activity, like fracking, mining, heavy extractive industry, and as a result of that you literally have this director saying, well ladies and gentlemen, here we have a situation where I can go to prison for this if we continue with this project and the bank will no longer finance it, the government’s changing its policy to ensure we do end up being supportive of renewables, and in fact that big subsidy of $600 billion per annum into the extractive fossil fuel industry has now been pulled. Let´s argue loud and hard for not just the same subsidy for renewables but for even more because we need to re-skill people and really turn this innovation and research round in the other direction.
MC:  Polly, what has to happen for this to actually become international law?
PH:  Well in fact, this is something that can be done relatively quickly and easily, far more so than the collapse of the climate negotiations that we’ve been seeing since Copenhagen where it’s all built on consensus. This is just an amendment to an existing statute, the Roma Statute and that statute is governed by, it requires 81 signatories where it’s one signatory per country. So where we’re looking at an awful lot of countries in the developed world, small countries, island nation states, who are at risk of a second type of ecocide, so naturally occurring ecocide and who are very keen to have a legal responsibility put on not just corporations but governments to give them  assistance. So if you think of the Kirabas, the Maldives for instance – here they are, they are countries who are going to go under water within 15 years and at the moment nobody is helping them out […and 5 years on STILL nobody is helping them!!!] This would impose a collective legal responsibility on all nations to assist, whatever territory is at risk of either naturally occurring ecocide or cooperative ecocide, as and when required. And that way we end up actually collaborating the process where we assit each other as and when required …and pre-empted – plan ahead.
MC:  Well Polly you’re in Queensland to give talks, you’re talking in Cairns and Darwin over the following week [She was at James Cook Uni – open event – I’ll follow up if anything positive flowed on from her talk there]
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Senate launches inquiry into threatened species 'extinction crisis'
Inquiry initiated by Greens follows Guardian investigation exposing funding and management failings
Lisa Cox  Wed 27 Jun 2018

The southern corroboree frog is critically endangered, with fewer than 50 individuals recorded in the wild in 2012. Photograph: John Lane/Zoos Victoria (pic)

The Senate has launched an inquiry into Australia’s threatened species crisis after an investigation of national threatened species management by Guardian Australia revealed problems including poor monitoring and a lack of funding.
The inquiry, initiated by Greens senator Janet Rice and supported by Labor and crossbenchers on Wednesday, will examine issues including the country’s alarming rate of species decline, the adequacy of Commonwealth laws that are supposed to protect threatened wildlife, and the effectiveness of funding for threatened species.
Scientists have described the situation confronting Australia’s threatened species as a “national disgrace” and the systems and laws that are supposed to protect them as “broken”.
More than 1,800 plant and animal species and ecological communities (woodlands, forests and wetlands are examples of ecological communities) are at risk of extinction, a number that is increasing but is also likely to be an underestimate of how many are truly vulnerable.
 'A national disgrace': Australia's extinction crisis is unfolding in plain sight 
The parliamentary inquiry will look specifically at Australian fauna. Almost 500 birds, mammals, reptiles and other animals are listed as requiring protection under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act.
Australia has recorded the highest rate of mammalian extinction of any country over the past 200 years.
Senator Rice said Australia was facing an “animal extinction crisis” and the government Senator Rice said Australia was facing an “animal extinction crisis” and the government was standing by while more species moved toward extinction.
“A staggering one in three global mammal extinctions in the last 400 years have occurred in Australia,” she said.
“It’s simply not good enough for a country as advanced and wealthy as ours to be leaving the next generation with a crisis like this.
“We urgently need this inquiry to identify the funding resources and legal protections that have to be in place to ensure that not one more animal species goes extinct in Australia.”
Scientists and conservationists have said the wildlife Australia prides itself on is struggling due to poor monitoring, lack of funding, cuts to environment department budgets, poor coordination between state and federal departments, failure to implement management plans for species and a lack of accountability mechanisms to ensure this work is done.
Guardian Australia’s investigation revealed multiple cases where money promoted by the government as threatened species funding has not gone to projects that benefited threatened species.
 Wombats, sharks, possums, frogs: Australia's animals at risk of extinction – interactive   
Less than 40% of Australia’s nationally-listed threatened species have recovery plans in place to secure their long-term survival and close to 10% of listed threatened species are identified as requiring plans to manage their protection, but the documents are either unfinished or have not been developed.
Other critically endangered, endangered and vulnerable species have plans that are years or decades out of date and contain no detail on what actions have been taken to ensure a species avoids extinction.
In some cases volunteers are having to prop up threatened species work and crowdsource funds because governments are failing to provide support.
In April, it was revealed an Australian turtle that received global attention for its punk-like features has no national recovery plan in place to ensure its survival and its management is being carried out by volunteers.
In Tasmania, community groups on King Island have called for an urgent federal intervention to prevent two of Australia’s most endangered bird species from becoming extinct.
And there have been calls for an audit of Australia’s threatened species funding and its effectiveness after revelations the government brokered a deal for a German not-for-profit to fund a project for the critically endangered western ground parrot, one of the government’s priority species.
The terms of reference for the inquiry include investigation of the ongoing decline of Australian animal species, the wider ecological impact of faunal extinctions, funding and implementation of recovery plans, the adequacy of existing monitoring processes for threatened species, the adequacy of Australia’s national reserve system, and the adequacy and effectiveness of protections for critical habitat.
In March, Guardian revealed Australia had not listed a critical habitat for protection on the federal register for more than a decade.
Conservation groups that have been calling for an overhaul of environment laws said the inquiry was a welcome intervention.
James Trezise, policy analyst for the Australian Conservation Foundation, said “we know that our national law has some serious issues when it comes to protecting threatened species and that funding for recovery is woefully inadequate and has been misrepresented by governments.
“This inquiry will hopefully enable the transparent evaluation of our environment laws as well as the funding arrangements and the independence of authorities that are charged with protecting Australia’s threatened species.”
The southern corroboree frog is critically endangered, with fewer than 50 individuals recorded in the wild in 2012. (pic)

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EPBC Act referral
Originating process & pleadings 
Motion for stay
Motion for discovery
Evidence for motion
Motion for particulars
Motion to strike-out discretionary factors
Defence to Amended SoC and Reply
Adjournment
Amended Application & pleadings
Expert reports tendered at trial by WBBCC
Note:
·        This report was rejected by the Court for covering wider issues than those on the pleadings and difficulties distinguishing fact from opinion: Wide Bay Conservation Council Inc v Burnett Water Pty Ltd (No 5) [2009] FCA 1320.
·        Burnett Water Pty Ltd subpoenaed all documents relevant to this report from the expert and was granted leave to inspect correspondence between the expert and WBBCC solicitor: Wide Bay Burnett Conservation Council Inc v Burnett Water Pty Ltd (No 6) [2009] FCA 1363
Exhibits tendered at trial
  • Exhibit 3 – Maps showing location of Paradise Dam
  • Exhibit 4 – Graphs of percentage of total time the Paradise Dam upstream and downstream fishways operated between 28 November 2005 and 24 May 2009 based on particulars provided by Burnett Water Pty Ltd on 11 June 2009.
  • Exhibit 82 – Joint expert report on lungfish
Note: Over 4000 documents were disclosed by the parties prior to the trial. These were reduced to an Agreed Bundle of 800 documents for the trial (printed in 15 volumes).
Of these, 105 exhibits were tendered at trial in addition to scores of documents annexed to witness statements. Many of these documents are not published here because they remain subject to copyright.
Trial decision
Subsequent monitoring reports
Following the conclusion of the litigation subsequent monitoring of the dam and fishways showed high lungfish mortality in flood events and ongoing lack of operation of the fishways:



Two cases of a number of major dams that are still being proposed or constructed:

1.  Two hydroelectric dams on the Santa Cruz River - details following, and

Balkan dam projects could result in loss of one in 10 European fish species
Exclusive: Plans for a network of hydropower plants in three countries would cause ‘chain reaction’ for endangered species, report warns
Arthur Neslen
Wed 18 Apr 2018 23.07 AEST  Last modified on Thu 19 Apr 2018 01.44 AEST
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“This report proves that Balkan rivers are the fish paradise of Europe. At the same time it is unbelievable that in the 21st century, hydro investors and politicians are risking this enormous natural value for something they call ‘green’ energy.”  Ulrich Eichelmann, Chief Executive, Riverwatch
“The high density of what is being planned affects everything in the region. It transforms whole river systems into a series of reservoirs that need to be flushed. It breaks up migration corridors, and drains and isolates wetlands that have a dramatic effect on birds. There is a whole chain reaction.” Prof Steven Weiss, University of Graz
The section of the Tara river in Montenegro that would be affected by dams on the Drina.  The section of the Tara river in Montenegro that would be affected by dams on the Drina. Photograph: Riverwatch
Nearly one in 10 of Europe’s fish species will be pushed to the brink of extinction by a constellation of hydropower plants planned in the western Balkans, new research has found.
Eleven endemic species would be wiped out, seven more would be critically endangered, four types of sturgeon would be devastated and the number of endangered species would double to 24, according to the University of Graz report.
Prof Steven Weiss, the paper’s author, told the Guardian: “It is the largest systematic construction plan with negative environmental impacts that I know of, since world war two.”
Altogether, the analysis finds that 49 of Europe’s 531 freshwater species would face either extinction or the loss of 50-100% of their Balkan distribution.
Weiss said: “The high density of what is being planned affects everything in the region. It transforms whole river systems into a series of reservoirs that need to be flushed. It breaks up migration corridors, and drains and isolates wetlands that have a dramatic effect on birds. There is a whole chain reaction.”
The 11 fish populations most at risk are: Cobitis jadovaensis; Alburnus vistonicus; Delminichthys jadovensis; Delminichthys krbavensis; Phoxinellus dalmaticus; Telestes polylepis; Telestes turskyi; Telestes ukliva; Knipowitschia mrakovcici; Eudontomyzon hellenicus and Zingel balcanicus.
Softmouth trout (Salmo obtusirostris): Dam projects on the Neretva threaten 50% or more of this population, and would most likely eliminate the species in the Morača river system.   
 Softmouth trout ( Salmo obtusirostris): Dam projects on the Neretva threaten 50% or more of this population, and would most likely eliminate the species in the Morača river system. Photograph: Arne Hodalic Ausschnitt
These are all endemic to the Balkans, Europe’s most important biodiversity hotspot for molluscs and fish.
One EU official told the Guardian that the study “should give us pause for thought. It’s clearly not possible for everyone’s plan to be built. Otherwise, you’re just pouring concrete over the entire region.”
RiverWatch, the conservation group which co-commissioned the research, estimates that 2,800 hydropower plants are planned or under construction in the region, more than a third of them on Natura 2000 sites.
Just three pristine waterways – the Neretva basin, Morača and the upper Drina system – alone host around 50 endangered and protected fish species.
The countries through which they flow – Bosnia-Herzegovina, Serbia and Montenegro - are all investing in hydro, in a bid to meet the EU’s clean energy targets before joining the bloc, even though research suggests that hydropower annually emits as much methane as Canada.
“This is one of the very painful activities we have to go through,” the EU source said. “These countries have plans for hydro to align with the EU’s rules on renewable energy but it is a sad state of affairs. The alternative for a number of them is not solar or wind, but coal and particularly, lignite.”
The EU’s leverage over countries not yet in the bloc was limited to offering guidelines on standards, although technical assistance for environmental protection might also be considered, the official added.
Ulrich Eichelmann, Riverwatch’s chief executive, said: “This report proves that Balkan rivers are the fish paradise of Europe. At the same time it is unbelievable that in the 21st century, hydro investors and politicians are risking this enormous natural value for something they call ‘green’ energy.”





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