Nature a winner as Springvale Station takes another step towards permanent protection

MEDIA RELEASE for August 17, 2017 (pic Andrew Brooks)

Nature a winner as Springvale Station takes another step towards permanent protection

Peak environment group Queensland Conservation Council has strongly welcomed the cancelling of two alluvial mining leases on the Springvale Station on Cape York.

This former cattle station was purchased in 2016 by the Palaszczuk Government as part of an effort to stop further major land degradation, reduce sediment runoff into the Great Barrier Reef, and provide sanctuary to a number of threatened species and regional ecosystems.

After Environment Minister Dr Steven Miles took Springvale over, it emerged that there were existing mining leases applications, which if left in place could have undermined the conservation intent of the purchase.  Lengthy negotiations have since taken place between the Environment and the Mines Ministers and departments.

It is understood that Springvale will be made a Nature Refuge under the Nature Conservation Act 1992¸ with land management by Indigenous rangers and a conservation Trust. The Queensland Conservation Council has concerns about how strong and long term those types of protection might be, and is hoping that in due course permanent protections can be secured via the Cape York land tenure resolution process.

“Nature a winner on Springvale Station and surrounding environments with the cancelling of these mining leases”, said Queensland Conservation Council head Dr Tim Seelig.

“We strongly welcome this action by the Environment Minister and the Mines Minister, as it allows Springvale to take another step towards permanent protection.  Instream mining is an environmentally destructive process that creates serious immediate damage and downstream impacts.

“The importance of Minister Miles stepping in here should be acknowledged. Buying and rehabilitating this property was a great investment by the Palaszczuk Government, that will have a huge impact on water quality in the Great Barrier Reef, but allowing alluvial mining would’ve undermined that good work.

"Preventing these alluvial mining leases is a significant and historic action to help protect nature and the tens of thousands of jobs reliant on the Great Barrier Reef.  A number of threatened species and regional ecosystems are found on this property, and the existing degradation is significant and has been a direct risk to nature.

"Springvale Station can now become a prime example of how former agricultural land can be remediated and re-vegetated to stop erosion impacting the reef while also providing great conservation outcomes for endangered species.

“There is still more work to do on Springvale and more broadly on Cape York. In time, we look forward to seeing this property being taken through the Cape York Tenure Resolution process, so that permanent protections, land justice and Indigenous land management can all be guaranteed.

“Sadly, Cape York – a regional filled with globally important natural and cultural heritage values - is also an area littered with mining leases and destructive processes. We hope that Queensland and Federal governments can work to ensure Cape York’s values are fully protected."

For further comment contact:

Queensland Conservation Council Coordinator Dr Tim Seelig on 0439 201 183

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