Why Your Vote Can Save More Than The Mary River

As an Executive Member of Queensland Conservation, I wholeheartedly support the Save the Mary campaign.

I am deeply concerned that any government could consider building the Traveston Crossing dam for several reasons.

First, Queensland has banned broadacre landclearing, yet supporters of this proposal want to ignore that law.

Second, the government is bound by state and federal legislation, and also by international agreements, to conserve biodiversity, yet supporters of this proposal want to ignore these beneficial laws.

Third, Australia is about to introduce an emissions trading scheme to combat Global Warming, yet this project will dramatically increase Queensland’s emissions. Our current government’s actions put it in direct opposition to federal government policy.

Queensland Conservation opposes the twelve dam and weir projects currently proposed for Queensland, including Traveston, because there are many positive solutions to Queensland’s environmental and economic crisis.

The food crisis demands action by the next Queensland government. With the loss of the Murray Darling River system, caused by Global Warming and government inaction, Australians have lost 40% of our fresh fruit and vegetable production. One solution is to conserve remaining quality farmland, and to conserve farming communities, especially where they are close to our city centres.
Britain does this, conserving working landscapes, towns and land for conservation within areas declared as national parks. The Lake District is one example of this working solution.

Last year Queensland Conservation launched its Grow Local campaign. This campaign encourages local solutions to national problems, for example by encouraging local food production areas to sustain their local population centres. Local food production is a significant solution towards keeping Queensland Climate Safe.

Local food production is also a significant solution towards dealing with Peak Oil. Thanks to Peak Oil, oil prices rises are inevitable, and this is already driving farmers out of business, and driving up the cost of food. Locally grown food uses less oil. It is another solution.

Healthy, productive farmland close to city centres is worth its weight in gold. If the Mary River is dammed the damage this will cause will be forever. Australians cannot afford to lose one of the most successful, vibrant, productive farming communities in our nation.

This is why the Grow Local campaign demands that productive farmland be conserved in a strategic way, just as we protect land for its biodiversity values.

Grow Local is about sustaining local farming jobs in times of drought and economic hardship, it’s about conserving a healthy Mary River catchment, it’s about saving some of Australia’s deepest, most fertile and most reliably watered dairying farmland. Farms in the Mary River catchment are Brisbane’s dairy.

Above all I ask voters to consider what type of government they wish to elect next weekend. This means voting for policies that offers solutions, that protect local jobs, that protect local food production, and that protect our state from Global Warming, and for a government that upholds State Laws.

Don’t Murray the Mary!
Jerry Coleby-Williams
Executive Member, Queensland Conservation
Director, Seed Savers’ Foundation
Patron, Australia & New Zealand Solar Energy Society
14th March 2009