Ge­orge told to ‘get his ducks lined up’

Whitsunday Times - - LOCAL NEWS -

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.

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