Gecko’s Campaigns Team are a passionate group of Gold Coasters giving a voice to the protection of the natural environment and advocating for the improved sustainability of the built environment.
The Gold Coast is recognised as an area of exceptional beauty and diversity of natural environments from the beaches and headlands, across the flood plains to the hills of the hinterland including, the World Heritage listed, Springbrook National Park. The Gold Coast has such a diversity of native plants and animals, many rare and endangered, that it is known as a biodiversity hotspot.
It is also an area of high population growth as more people seek to make their homes here to share in this bounty. This increasing population need to be accommodated and employment provided, while still protecting our exceptional beaches and bushland. It is the challenge of better management of both protection and sustainable development that inspires the Gecko campaigners.
The Campaigns Team with its combined knowledge and skills, meets fortnightly to discuss the issues, develop advocacy strategies and take appropriate action through appealing to the hearts and minds of Gold Coasters and the decision makers in the community. The Team brings together a number of experienced campaigners ready and willing to welcome and support any new comers to the team.
Join the Team and take action: New campaign team members are welcomed. If this is you please call the Gecko office 5534 1412 between 10am and 2pm Monday to Friday or send a message on Facebook and we will contact you.
The Campaigns Team also works in close collaboration with other conservation and community organisations on the Gold Coast and northern NSW which have similar interests. On a broader scale the Team works with or supports other organisations such as the Queensland Conservation Council and its member groups on State and National environmental issues.
A voice for the environment
Gecko campaigns on 4 core themes:
- Climate change/ global warming – to which we all contribute by our lifestyle choices, affects every aspect of our lives. Gecko’s Campaigners advocate for effective action at government and community level to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
- Biodiversity Protection by working to protect our unique native plants and animals in conservation reserves, national parks, waterways and other areas.
- Protection of public open space by advocating for low impact use of conservation reserves, natural and recreational areas and expansion of these to keep pace with population growth for the health and wellbeing of our residents.
- Good planning for the present and future by working to maintain and sustain the liveability and attractiveness of the city through the implementation of fair and just planning legislation to deliver a clean, green city.
March Campaigns Report - from Lois Levy
Volunteers are wanted to help with all these campaign actions.
Submissions due: Amendments to City Plan Round 4. https://gchaveyoursay.com.au/ourcityourplan Submissions: firstname.lastname@example.org
202102012_Email_VL2T_CommunityLiaison re new meeting of M1 expansion and fauna underpass
20210208_F/U letter_GCCC_CEO_ Climate action
Gecko Campaigns Groups.
The matters that arise under four broad headings of :
- Climate Change
- Protection of Public Open Space
- Liveability and Planning Sustainability.
Director of Queensland Conservation Council visit: Dave Copement, the new Director of QCC attended a Gecko Campaign meeting and discussed 4 main areas of action. Climate action; National Park expansion; Meetings with the Minister; the need for an Environment Protection Agency.
Gecko and Gold Coast Climate Action Network are interested in setting up a series of listening posts throughout the city to gauge residents’ interest in climate change and taking local action.
Gecko will meet again with Griffith University Climate Action Beacon Project Leaders, Prof. Brendan Mackey and Kerry Foxwell-Norton re the development of a series of community based webinars for 2021.
One of these could be held during Green Week around World Environment Day on 5th June.
Gold Coast Climate Action Network (GCCAN). The recent meeting focussed on developing a strategic plan for this year. It was agreed that each member group would go on with their actions and could seek support from GCCAN if needed. A timeline of climate and environment events was drafted leading to the COP26 in Glasgow in November.
Gecko is keen to develop some postcards that can be sent to the Prime Minister urging a commitment to climate action at the Cop26.
National Parks: A range of conservation groups are working together to urge the State Government to increase the protected area estate, ie. More National Parks and more private conservation areas.
The campaign is called Double in 10 which relates to increasing the percentage of protected areas from 8% to 17% within 10 years. The public will be able to join in this campaign shortly.
In the meantime local conservation groups are seeking a meeting with Hon. Megan Scalan, Minister for Environment on the same issue.
Nerang National Park: There are continuing discussions between the Conservation sector representatives on the Nerang National Park stakeholder group and the GC Mountain Bike Club and Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service (QPWS) and we are waiting for a date of the next stakeholder meeting. Gecko has again asked for other Nerang national park stakeholders to be invited.
The Friends of Nerang National Park bush-care day was well attended and some work begun on weeding an ecologically important section of the park. https://www.facebook.com/nerangnationalpark/
Oxenford Quarry Expansion: The Council has indicated that they will refuse the expansion application but Nucrush are reapplying with different parameters. The assessment by the Federal Dept. of Environment has not yet taken place.
The community group has decided to start a fund for a court case if needed. https://www.facebook.com/againstquarryexpansion/posts/240828943988539?__tn__=K-R
Cableway proposal again: A response has been received to our letter sent to Minister for Environment advising that no application has been received yet.
There was no mention of our concerns about paying for a business case.
National Park Forum: Plans for Gecko to host a webinar or in-person forum on problems of commercialisation of national parks in 2021 have been put pushed back to June’s Green Week. Alaire and Sonya are working on this. https://parks.des.qld.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0016/212524/qld-protected-area-strategy-2020-30.pdf
EPBC Review. The Samuels’ Final Review of the Environment Protection Biodiversity Conservation Act report has been released and is scathing of the Act’s inability to protect our declining biodiversity.
There are 38 strong recommendations. A submission needs to be written to the Minister for Environment calling for these to be endorsed and acted upon.
At present the Federal Govt. is doing very little – https://epbcactreview.environment.gov.au/resources/final-report
Tree Canopy Report: Reform to tree preservation local laws urgently needed and Gecko to follow up. Other groups, Gold Cost City Planning staff advised that the report by Arup “Urban Tree Canopy Study done for the city will be implemented in the latter half of this year.
There are some good recommendations about changes to the planning system to protect trees. https://www.goldcoast.qld.gov.au/documents/bf/urban-tree-canopy-study.pdf
Ground Water Extraction at Springbrook (GWE). There is currently a dispute about the ecosystem and World Heritage expert report as Hoffman’s expert has not met with the Co-respondent’s experts.
The solicitors on both sides are discussing the issue. Council is holding to its position that the water mine proposed by Hoffman will damage the environment and community amenity.
It will come to hearing in April 2021.
Natural Areas Acquisition Policy – this was adopted by Council on 22nd October and replaces the Open Space Preservation Levy. Gecko will seek clarification of why it will be implemented by the Planning Department not Natural Areas Management Unit and how it will work.
The author of the report was Nina Bishop, Senior Environment Planner and apparently Parks and Gardens will be involved.
Royal Commission into Black Summer Bushfires has been released and Gecko will be reading this. https://naturaldisaster.royalcommission.gov.au/publications/html-report
Transport impact on biodiversity – Coomera Connector Stage 1: Gecko has applied for an FOI and were advised that the Federal department of Environment does not have this document.
Gecko has written to TMR re the release date of the Koala Management Plan and were advised it would be released in February, but it is still not available.
The Public Environment Report for Stage 1 will come out later this year.
M1 Extensions – Varsity to Tugun (VL2T). Gecko has written to TMR asking for an on-site visit to discuss the progress with the underpass and rehabilitation of Oyster Creek and the issues of lack of bushland on the western exit of the underpass.
There has not been a response so far.
Light Rail – Gecko wrote to Minister Bailey asking for some clarification on the impact of the proposed Oceanway on Tarrabora Reserve and the response assured us that there would be no impact on Tarrabora Reserve.
Gecko is participating in discussions with a new group the Southern Transport Alternative Routes (STAR) group which is promoting an alternative route via west Burleigh and the M1.
With the announcement of the possibility of the Olympic Games in 2032 the Mayor has been pushing for an early start to Stage 4. https://www.tmr.qld.gov.au/Projects/Name/G/Gold-Coast-Highway-Burleigh-Heads-to-Tugun-Multi-modal-Corridor-Study
Public Open Space
The Spit Master Plan: Bus to Seaway: No response has been received to our letter asking for a bus on The Spit that continues past SeaWorld, where it currently terminates, to Seaway.
It is a long and hot walk from SeaWorld to the Seaway especially for visitors carrying beach and picnic loads. TMR are likely to be trialling electric buses on the Gold Coast this year and we asked for one for The Spit.
Helicopter joy rides: Council has requested Helitours to demonstrate why their illegal operations should continue on the Marina Mirage site. Gecko has received a response from Council stating they are awaiting a response from Helitours.
They could either be told to shut up shop or could put in an application for permission to operate.
The redevelopment of Marina Mirage, from which Helitours operates now, have not included a helipad in their application which was approved.
Cruise Terminal, Gecko has now the PwC Report to Council and we are working on a media release.
Curlew Island will be gazetted as a conservation reserve for the protection of migratory birds and is known as land parcel SP299989.
The next step is to appoint a trustee and develop a management plan. This needs followed up.
Liveability and a Green City Planning.
The fourth round of consultation on about 9 items of Amendments 2 & 3 package has started. A working group of Gecko, Community Alliance, and others with planning knowledge are working on developing a response.
The main concern is the reduction of deep planting and landscaping to the minimum needed. The public consultation proposed from 9th March to 8th April is the minimum required.
Gecko has a new intern and he is tasked with examining the City Plan for sustainability elements and comparing and contrasting our City Plan with another one in Queensland and Victoria, making recommendations we can use for advocacy and writing a report.
The Community Alliance: The goals for 2020 – 2021 will be to continue pushing for planning reform, holding Council to account for development decisions and advocacy for sustainability, amenity and liveability in Gold Coast planning decisions.
SEQ Alliance –This group of representatives of community organisations around SEQ is continuing to push for planning reform and local government reform.
A letter has been sent to the Minister for Planning requesting a meeting.
Strategic Planning for the Campaign Team: Strategies for each of the goals are being developed and the update to the website for each area of endeavour is nearly complete.
We value that:-
- All life on Earth has a right to exist in reasonable conditions and humans should not have the right to exploit other species or destroy their habitat.
- Our work should be based on known science, respect for life and respectful communication with others.
- The work of other conservation and community groups and the opportunities for mutual support are recognised and appreciated.
- Proactive work is preferable to reactive work.
The Team’s goals for the four main areas of endeavour of Climate Change; Biodiversity; public open space; planning.
Climate Change – to advocate, for effective action in reducing greenhouse gas emissions, to all levels of government and within all sectors of the community for the benefit of all living species.
Biodiversity – to advocate for the protection of all native species through increases in the extent of protected areas, such as land and marine national parks and conservation reserves, and improved funding for effective management. Better legislation is also needed for all areas of development.
Public Open Space – to advocate for the protection and increase of public open space and its vegetation for the health and well-being of the growing population. Further to advocate for the implementation of an urban forest policy and register of the city’s significant trees.
Livability and a Green City – to advocate for the adoption of sustainability objectives in city planning, infrastructure provision and development to ensure a livable and attractive city for residents and visitors.
New Portfolios in Queensland State Cabinet: https://cabinet.qld.gov.au/ministers.aspx
- Minister for Environment, Great Barrier Reef and Science, Megan Scanlan;
- Minister for Transport and Main Roads, Mark Bailey;
- Minister for Tourism Industry Development and Innovation and Minister for Sport, Stirling Hinchliffe;
- Minister for Resources, Scott Stewart;
- Minister for Energy, Renewables and Hydrogen, Michael de Brenni;
- Deputy Premier; Minister for State Development , Infrastructure, Local Government and Planning, Stephen Miles.
Following several letters from Gecko asking about the future of The Spit master Plan the Government finally put forward a Bill “The Implementation of The Spit Master Plan” and called for submissions from the public which closed on 16th December 2019. Gecko made a submission
Gecko is generally pleased with the result with the exception that Philip Park is still at risk of being taken over by the cruise ship terminal. Since the completion of the Master Plan the Government has committed $60 million to its implementation over 4 years and recently announced initial expenditure of $6.8 million to improve access to the Spit.
Cruise Ship Terminal – Now Called the Oceanside Terminal – the next stage In the 2019-2020 Council Budget a sum of $1.2 million was allocated to continue to gather information for various reports on the cruise terminal and an Initial
An innovative program to plant koala trees on golf courses has been developed by Helensvale Green group leader David Cuschieri. David has convinced the managers of the Arundel golf course that they can help the local koala population by planting food trees along the sides of the fairways. Golf courses are small havens of green in our city and often link remaining patches of bushland while providing safe, car free places to live, feed and breed
The public consultation period for the Coomera Connector (southern section), or M2 as some call it, will begin on Saturday 9th November, from 7am –3pm at Carrara Markets. This is the first of several opportunities for the public to see where the Coomera Connector, Stage 1, will go and to discuss its impacts with residents who live along the route and those with other concerns.
Generally Gecko members are pleased with The Spit Master Plan which provides for all of the public open space to be retained and enhance with either native planting and, where appropriate basic public facilities.
Springbrook National Park is a short drive inland from Surfers Paradise and is a national park that is so exceptional that it has the status of being a World Heritage listed area, but it too suffers from all the same threats and needs our ongoing support and protection from inappropriate development.
In recent months the Department of Tourism has called for expressions of interest for development of eco- tourism ventures in National Parks. Queensland has only 7% of its area as national park, compared to 50% in Tasmania, however the Government has decided that in order to attract more tourists, developments should be allowed in national parks. Gecko has no objection to day visitors to national parks and would like to see better facilities and interpretation in our parks, but we cannot condone development in any national park.