When I was a little girl, I always used to wear a sprig of Wattle on my school uniform, and I still love the flower to this day.
Although it is supposed to be a secret, I have a new book coming out called Koala Memoirs and the whole cover is covered in Wattle.
I did not know then, but all Wattles (and there are thousands of different types) are the first trees to come up when a landscape is damaged and they are sort of a healing tree to the earth. I plant them all over my garden because my little bit of bush has been highly damaged by 200 years of logging, sheep grazing and food production - all of which was unsustainable. Then of course more trees were cleared to make way for houses in the 1950’s, leaving Koalas to face bigger threats – cars, dogs and disease.
I know too well that my home used to be Koala habitat and living where I do has helped me understand the complexities of protecting all flora and fauna.
It is always hard to step in and protect a piece of land that is going to be destroyed, as is the case with some gorgeous bushland near my house. Below you can see what I wrote for my local newspaper in Brisbane recently. As I wrote it, I realised that all of us so often do not want to make waves, because if we do there are always consequences. The site is scheduled for a community hall and the loss of biodiversity will be shocking. Our Chief Ecologist, Douglas, has been on site and will prepare a submission - but will it be read? Probably not, because I think this is a done deal as they say. My words below.
Why this site is important to you as a resident.
If you think that losing this important part of remnant bushland is not an issue for you, I want to try and explain why I think it is imperative that you understand what is happening.
If you love the birds in the district, then the hollows in these trees are imperative for their breeding. Unless you are prepared to get a ladder, buy special bird boxes, pay lots of dollars to replicate the hollows, then you need to care.
Hollows in the Australian bush can take up to 150 years to form. Our Chief Ecologist, Dr Kerlin will tell you how old these trees are and your descendants will have to wait that amount time before they appear again (at least 200 years).
If you love honey, you will need to think through; where does the bee get the pollen and nectar to make that honey. From old large trees that blossom at this time of the year. I buy my honey locally and the beekeepers are telling me that things are bad.
If you love Koalas, and Koala pooh has been found on this site, then what will you tell your grandchild when they are gone. Do you think it is only my job (the Koala Woman) to speak out? The Koala was listed in May 2012 as a Federally listed species which means this project should have been referred – why wasn’t it? Because the guidelines have been watered down since the listing.
Why would Council allow the biodiversity of this site to be destroyed when they spruik protection and promise to plant millions of trees. Douglas will be able to tell you how many trees they will need to replace the biodiversity and amount of land it will take.
If you think we need a new community hall – then think again – there are plenty, often empty. There is truly no need for another hall and why does this particular group get such special attention?
If you think that Aboriginal artefacts are not relevant to you, then think again. Our political leaders say it is important but do nothing to protect them. I have seen 10,000 year old grinding grooves in the western lands blown up, and I am confident as our country goes into drought from climate changes, we will need the wisdom of our aboriginal elders to help us survive the ravages of the impacts. Remember Stone Henge is only 5000 years old; we revere it. This particular piece of land has had 3000 generations standing on the ground. We open all speeches that we honour aboriginal elders at every conference I attend but I see nothing like that that in practice. They are just hollow words from hollow leaders.
If you think we need another shopping centre – because that is what this will become, the developers cannot wait, then allow the trees to be destroyed.
And finally if you think that the planning process is fair and equitable – think again. Both Dr Kerlin and I have produced two Senate Inquiry document (and another due soon) where we articulated the lies and dishonesty perpetrated by officers of Councils, State Governments and Federal Governments. Now those documents are unreadable, all redacted so that these dishonest people are protected. They did not even see the light of day. Tell me that is a democracy.
I have lived in the district for 30 years and have lost lots of friends and gained a few by my stance on the protection of biodiversity. I am happy to lose a few more for this site. Once last thing, and probably for the elders of the community; do you remember social studies in the 1950’s where we learnt that trees took in Co2 and breathed out oxygen. Will this building do that for our community? Of course not, and our new young leaders think only of glass and concrete and will be seen from the future as a disgrace.
This site is important to you and we need you to support those fighting for its protection. Tell them how you can help.
So what more can I say; that me and my team continue to be relentless in our pursuit to protect Koala habitat and we could not do it without you – our supporters.
We are one of the few groups that takes no Government money – we truly cannot be silenced.
Fond regards as always,