The Moreton Bay Foundation was launched at Brisbane City Hall on Friday the 30th August by His Excellency the Honourable Paul de Jersey AC, Governor of Queensland.
I was delighted to have been in attendance within a room bursting with dedication and passion for Moreton Bay’s future.
The day began with a wonderful Welcome to Country the local Frist Nations people followed by the official opening by the Governor, Paul de Jersey. There was a common theme in both the Welcoming and the Governor’s speech of “our custodianship of the environment.”
Then we all enjoyed an afternoon of presentations surrounding various aspects of our magnificent Bay.
Redlands had a strong contingency of interested passionate people with Uncle Bob and Kathy and many others from across Redlands there to support the launch of this fantastic Foundation and to understand the future opportunities that will be available due to their varied research.
The opening presentation addressed the “Aliens” moving into the Bay. This is the name given to marine creatures who previously weren’t seen residing in the Bay however with the water temperature changes they can now live further south. This is not something that can be stopped but needs to be acknowledged so any impacts on existing marine life can be understood. These movements of animals and plants can be deliberate or accidental introductions from boats, people or a migration with warmer waters. Due to the waters of Moreton Bay being on the boundary of the colder southern waters and warmer northern waters it is a great place to research and understand these changes. With species heading the Poles due to climate change it is vital to identify the changes and plan. I gave a thought to the poor creatures who already live at the Poles…where do they now go?Our Moreton Bay area has been identified as one of the areas globally under threat of this migration and researchers are using Citizen science process as a way to collect valuable data.
The next speaker was one of us, Cameron Costello the CEO of QYAC and who is also on the board of The Moreton Bay Foundation. Cameron spoke with deep passionate on the need to Care for Country and Care for People and his key word was LEGACY.
Cameron spoke of the work QYAC is presently doing to care for Quandamooka Country and how wonderful and constructive it is to see traditional land use management being integrated into all aspects of current land use management including fire management. One wonders why it has taken so long to respect the traditional methods but it is so exciting that it is finally happening. The traditional custodians of our local lands and waters lived here in our area for over 25,000 years so I am confident we can learn from their methods.
Cameron Costello CEO QYAC and on the board of TMBF proudly showed off photographs of our Quandamooka Country.
Paul Maxwell then presented on future rezoning’s of the Bay and stressed the need with the increase pressures on her waters due to increasing higher densities in SEQ for the sustainability of Moreton Bay. They too are going to leverage from traditional owner’s knowledge and practises to research and implement plans for a sustainable fishing, tourism and recreational future of the region. There are such diverse pressures from the range of Bay users and raising awareness of the impacts and knowing the carrying capacity of Moreton Bay is vital.
Fisheries are also working on amendments to the Act to secure scientifically based areas for a sustainable fish population. Speaking with passionate fisherman yesterday after attending the afternoon they all agreed with this move which was very reassuring.
The afternoon concluded with an open panel discussion which raised many questions from those gathered.
Points of strong agreement: –
·More people are changing to enjoying and respecting the environment ie canoeing
·Having evidence based research and having this data available to enable decisions to be made is vital (I certainly look forward to this)
·Popular worldwide Cities are those who embrace nature ie Hong Kong even has 12 nature parks within its City’s boundaries.
·Shore lines are areas all users share and the effect on shorebirds and other creatures who required these areas to survive require further research for better planning.
Moreton Bay is a fantastic opportunity to connect people with nature which has science based evidence is required for humans own healthy mental state of mind.
The carrying capacity of Moreton Bay is needed to be understood as at present the Bay habitats are under threat but with correct management there can be a positive “turn around”. Seagrass areas are beginning to come back in some areas where they were destroyed and one good news story is Bramble Bay which hadn’t had sea grass since the 1940’s and now it is reappearing! Areas such as Mud Island continue to be destroyed though so much work across the region is still required but we must remember it can be turned around and not give up hope!
It was a truly motivational and inspiring afternoon to be surrounded by such dedication to deliver a sustainable future based on traditional methods and research based! No politics, no hidden agendas, no self-interest just passion, intelligence and dedication to make a difference to our country.
I talked to both colours of politics attending the afternoon and local Wynnum Manly Councillor Peter Cumming and all were in agreeance!
Peter was talking with one of his residents’ DT Brewer who was one of the authors who contributed to the book Moreton Bay Quandamooka and Catchment – an excellent resource.
The Evening Program
After a short break I attended a dinner at City Hall to celebrate the day and again I was so inspired by the conversations and people I was so very fortunate to spend time with throughout the evening. There was a fantastic Welcome to Country and the speeches – Kim Richards our member for Redlands MP represented the Minister and Kim impressed everyone with her sincere passion for our region and her knowledge. Some folk asked me after wards what political party did she belong too which is how I like State members to be – doing the job not the politics. Kim was a great ambassador for Redlands that evening.
Before dinner I introduced Kim to an enthusiastic Ben and Robby from ozfish. His current project is restoring oyster beds. I had spoken with Ben earlier in the day and was recruiting assistance from Kim as I thought their project was fantastic. They collect oyster shells (Eat Street in Brisbane has a specific oyster shell collection bin) they then sterilise the shells before placing back in old areas which have been destroyed. When the oysters spawn if they have more inoculation points for the mycelium to grow it leads to quicker mycelium colonisation. I have researched it since talking with ben but basically for every oyster shell returned to the water up to ten babies can happen!
How awesome is that…so Kim and I were on a mission to save the shells from the night and I must give special recognition to Ian Tibbetts who was a true soldier for the cause. This group are having, walls, in gaining permits and having local Councils allowing collection points at Transfer station but the area were they are currently working in Pumicstone Passage has been a huge success. Considering oyster farming was one of the first industries in the Bay around the turn of last century this is definitely a project I would like to see investigated for Redlands. I was happy to see some of our Redlands residents at the event, including Uncle Bob from Minjerriba.
Hope for a better future – Dr Kathy Townsend
Dr Kathy Townsend presented during the evening gave us all hope as to how with better management and restrictions the health and state of species can improve. Before the ban on whaling the population had decreased to possibly around 700 but now after several decades of no whaling the numbers have increased back to 30,000! Kathy encouraged everyone to stop talking about the decline and “no hope” but rather find the solutions and let’s concentrate on the increases. Recently when I spoke on planning issues I had also said this to a group of people. It is very easy to say, people aren’t making a difference and be negative “” which annoys me and I wonder if this give up nature is what some may want. Keep going, make researched constructive sustainable changes and see the positive results! It was so heartening for me to hear Dr Townsend also sending this message and having the science to confirm.
Our next generation speaks
Our Cicada youth also spoke on their various projects and how comforting is it to hear from the younger generation…they get it. As Ned said “Start your contribution by never buying a plastic toothbrush again but buy a bamboo toothbrush. Any plastic toothbrush you have used during your lifetime is still here somewhere but a bamboo one will break down…reduce your plastic use. Passionate environmentalist Redlands lady Laura had been there all day assisting organise and mentoring the younger Cicada award representatives.
There were endless people I was fortunate to connect with and I have kept all their business cards and look forward to reaching out to gather knowledge to assist our Redlands environment.
I actually bought their book Moreton Bay Quandamooka & Catchment which has our Wellington Point local shorebird expert Peter Roethlisberger as a contributor. I started reading last night and can’t wait to start again this evening…facts, research, examples on so many important topics from Indigenous Knowledge and Culture, Communities and Values, History and Change in Moreton Bay, Citizen Science, Industry and Planning, Habitats, Biodiversity and Ecosystem Function, who couldn’t be excited about such a book?
Thank you to the Goodman Foundation for making the Moreton Bay Foundation a possibility and giving everyone such a valuable tool to assist in making science based decisions for the future of our Moreton Bay and region.
I drove home with my head spinning and a renewed strength. I look forward to working with and supporting the TMBF in the future.