A COMMUNITY FIGHTS TO SAVE ITS LAST NATURAL RIVERINE ESTUARY FROM A MULTI-NATIONAL CORPORATION’S SAND MINES
Friends of Minnamurra River (FOMR) is an association of community volunteers formed four years ago in the Kiama local government area, about 120km south of Sydney, the NSW capital, to protect the biodiversity and fragile marine, terrestrial and aquatic environments of the catchment, banks and estuary of the local Minnamurra River and the scenic landscape in which it is set.
The river, also important in the area’s history and culture, has one of the last largely natural estuaries in southeast Australia, so far unmodified by industry and urban over-development.
But now all this is under very real threat of destruction - by sand mines that will operate for only three to four years!
A NSW State government body has approved, mainly only on economic grounds, an application by Boral, a large multi-national building materials supply corporation, to develop two sand mine pits, very closely adjacent to the Minnamurra River and its precious estuary.
FOMR intends to fight the approval to have it reversed or at least have a new Boral application assessed under the government’s new environmental protection legislation. The government allowed Boral to have its original application assessed under old, outdated and inadequate criteria.
The Australian Conservation Foundation, our country’s national environment organisation, says “Right now, a pollution and extinction crisis threatens our living world. Climate damage and habitat destruction are two of the biggest challenges we face in Australia.”
The mining threat to the Minnamurra River is very much a part of this crisis.
The two local governments in the area, Kiama Council and Shellharbour City Council, strongly oppose the Boral sand mines and are supported by a large majority of their residents.
Even the Planning, Industry and Environment Department of the government that gave Boral approval, has documented that the sand mines and their infrastructure will be destructive of sensitive and endangered ecosystems.
Here’s a list of just some of the damaging impacts the department says that the mine will have:
· Require the clearance of 4.5 ha of Bangalay Sand Forest which is a listed Endangered Ecological Community (EEC) under the State Biodiversity Conservation Act 2016, destroying habitats for the Barking Owl and Masked Owl;
· Have adverse effects on the health of the adjoining Littoral Rainforest which is a listed endangered ecological community (EEC) under the State Biodiversity Conservation Act 2016 and a critically endangered Threatened Ecological Community (TEC) under the Commonwealth EPBC Act.
· Destroy or adversely impact communities of Southern Myotis, listed as vulnerable in NSW and subject to a conservation strategy by another NSW government;
· Require the clearance of three hectares of other native vegetation as well as the clearance of three hectares of exotic grassland;
· Increase the risk of downstream pollution and sedimentation of already stressed seagrass beds and fish habitat in the Minnamurra River estuary;
· Destroy Aboriginal cultural materials and both identified and unidentified Aboriginal archaeological sites;
· Necessitate the building of a network of flood levees or bunds a landscape-disfiguring 5.5m to 6m high.
The changes in flood flows the mines will cause, also risks toxic flows into the Minnamurra River and its tributary, Rocklow Creek, from the former Kiama Council landfill and human excreta dump sites.
FOMR seeks your support to help mount its fight against the damage and destruction which will be actually and potentially be caused to an important, significant and sensitive Australian environmental and natural asset.
FOR MORE INFORMATION SEE THE LINK BELOW TO A PODCAST INTERVIEW WITH FOMR SECRETARY RICHARD MAITLAND.
Link to a story from the New Bush Telegraph
- Aimee Heald
- Mercy Kibbey
- Nick Guggisberg
Organizer and beneficiary
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