George told to ‘get his ducks lined up’
FEDERAL Member for Dawson George Christensen has failed to “get his ducks lined up” in a recent “wetlands attack” according to the Australian Marine Conservation Society.
AMCS Whitsunday's Great Barrier Reef campaigner Cherry Muddle said claims made by Mr Christensen that the Abbot Point Caley Valley Wetlands were an artificial duck pond exposed his lack of knowledge of the area, its history and its importance.
In last week’s Whitsunday Times (March 19), Mr Christensen was quoted as saying “the area the extreme greens pretend to care about was actually a dry flat plain until two gun clubs got together in the 1950s to divert a watercourse and create a pond where they could shoot ducks”.
He said his claims were supported by a GHD report and anecdotal evidence from the mayor of the Burdekin Shire, Bill Lowis.
Both Ms Muddle and the AMCS disagree.
"The Caley Valley Wetlands are a nationally signif- icant breeding habitat for over 40,000 water birds, including 10 threatened species,” Ms Muddle said.
"Suggesting that the wetlands are artificial is extremely misleading and factually incorrect. The wetlands have been there for thousands of years [and] according to the government’s own wetland database, only 0.2 per cent of the wetlands have been modified as a result of the low bund walls which duck hunters constructed over 50 years ago.”
Ms Muddle said Mr Christensen might like to speak with the Juru people “who are the traditional custodians of the Abbot Point area and its wetlands”.
“Their cultural and spiritual connections to the wetlands predates duck hunters and European colonisation by thousands of years,” she said.
“These wetlands are so important that they meet the standard for the most important international wetlands under the Ramsar Conven- tion [and] they are no place for a dump site.”
Ms Muddle said Mr Christensen was “clearly out of step with the broader community”, pointing to the fact that in December 2014, 79,000 people wrote submissions calling on the Federal Government to reject the proposal to dump dredge spoil in the wetlands at Abbot Point.
"If the Federal Member is not a fan of area, he is entitled to his own opinion, but he's not entitled to his own facts,” she said.
NO DUCK POND: Federal Member for Dawson George Christensen has come under fire about claims that the Caley Valley Wetlands are nothing more than a man-made duck pond. Photo courtesy Kiwi AMCS collection.