Early this morning around 30 concerned citizens from around Australia were denied entry by Security and Police to the Caley Valley Wetlands, which lie adjacent to Adani owned Abbot Point coal ter. The citizens wished to enter the wetlands to observe the damage of Adani’s most recent spill of coal-laden water earlier this month. Many Bowen, Mackay, Proserpine and Airlie Beach locals, as well as people form around Australia and the globe donned bio-hazard suits and carried mops and other cleaning equipment, prepared to help clean up the site.
Caley Valley Wetlands are a precious ecosystem which spreads over 5,000 hectares and are home to over 200 species of birds, some of which are threatened and vulnerable. A number of these are migratory shore birds that fly from the Arctic Circle to the wetlands each year.
For years, the wetlands have been off-limits to the public, while Adani has twice released toxic coal run-off into its waterways. In 2017, after Cyclone Debbie, Adani was fined $12,000 for exceeding their toxicity limit by 800% but are currently contesting this fine in court. In February this year they again exceeded their limit.
The group has invited the wider community to join a March for the Wetlands at Abbot Point Road this Sunday March 3. The group will reconvene on this day and demand that Adani permits access to the site in order to conduct a citizen science investigation.
Mackay local and former Collinsville coal miner Steve Bulloch, said:
“I was not surprised that the police were here this morning, though I was very surprised that the police were not here to investigate Adani, but instead to help Adani maintain secrecy over the condition of the wetlands.”
“I’m familiar with this area because we used to fish here in Stuart Creek, which is part of the wetlands. The water flowing by was so clear you could drink it. I’d like to be able to check up on it now and see what effect Adani’s major coal spills has had on it.”
“First they dump the waste, then they deny doing it and don’t take ownership. Then when they do get caught they still challenge their fines in the courts. They don’t show any signs of integrity, that’s for sure.”
“I am here because one of the largest and most beautiful coastal wetlands in Queensland is in real danger of permanent damage as a result of the Abbot Point expansion.
Caley Valley Wetlands qualifies under the Ramsar convention, a global treaty that provides the framework for the conservation and wise use of the wetlands. Australia is a signatory to this convention.
The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority 2050 report into the protection of the Great Barrier Reef identifies the destruction of coastal wetlands as a significant threat to the longevity of the reef.