The Great Dividing Range is The Spine of Eastern Australia.

Join us in this critical effort to protect and restore the spine of eastern Australia. Together, we can ensure that this magnificent landscape continues to thrive for generations to come, and that no more species are lost to the ravages of human-induced change.

This page is dedicated to the people at the forefront of the fight to protect the Great Dividing Range. These passionate individuals and organisations are leading the clarion call to halt the destruction and ensure the long-term health and resilience of this irreplaceable natural treasure.

The Great Dividing Range

is a magnificent series of connected mountain ranges that form the backbone of eastern Australia. Stretching over 3,500 kilometres from the tropical north to the temperate south, this ancient landscape is home to some of the most ecologically significant habitats on Earth. Sadly, this natural wonder is facing severe threats from human activities. Deforestation, mining, urban expansion, and unsustainable resource extraction are all taking a toll, fracturing the integrity of this vital ecosystem.

All ridges here are blasted out.

Tom Gertz (Gugu Badhun) overlooking the site form Mt. Fox crater.

Addressing the Challenges

Australia, like many other countries, is grappling with the challenge of meeting the growing demand for power and resources. However, the decisions made today will have profound implications for the future of the Great Dividing Range and the countless species that call it home.

 

It’s time for governments, industries, and communities to have honest, constructive conversations about sustainable energy solutions, conservation strategies, and the urgent need to preserve the natural values of this magnificent country. We must work together to find a way forward that balances the needs of people and the environment.

Impact on Native Vegetation

The proposed renewable energy projects, particularly wind farms, in Queensland, pose a significant threat to the state’s high-quality, intact native vegetation. This presentation highlights the critical conservation values of these areas and the heavy price being paid in terms of the degradation of ecologically important ranges.

Key Findings:

  1. Extensive Vegetation Clearing: The analysis shows that the renewable energy projects will clear large areas of endangered, of concern, and least concern vegetation, as well as impact significant additional areas within a 200m buffer zone.
  2. Threatened and Rare Ecosystems: Several Queensland regional ecosystems of highly restricted extent will be severely impacted, with some ecosystems losing up to 31% of their total extent.
  3. High-Quality Vegetation Condition: The coastal ranges of Queensland contain some of the last remaining high-quality, intact native vegetation in the region. However, this ecological value is not adequately recognised in current legislation.
  4. Weed Invasion and Hydrological Changes: The construction of roads and infrastructure for renewable projects poses serious risks of weed invasion and changes to water flow and hydrology, further degrading the native ecosystems.
  5. Inadequate Offsets: The offset measures proposed by renewable developers are criticised as inadequate, failing to provide proper compensation for the fragmentation and degradation of native habitats.

By addressing these critical issues, we can work towards a more sustainable and ecologically responsible approach to renewable energy development in Queensland.

Renewable Energy Developments Threatening Endangered Species Habitat

The proposed and under-construction renewable energy projects in Queensland pose a significant threat to the habitats of two endangered species – the Koala and the Greater Glider. 

 

Extensive Habitat Clearing

  • If all the proposed and under-construction renewable energy projects are approved, they will collectively clear over 10,000 hectares of Koala habitat and over 6,700 hectares of Greater Glider habitat.
  • Several individual projects, such as the Boomer Green Energy Hub, Chalumbin wind farm, and Upper Burdekin wind farm, will each clear over 700 hectares of habitat for each of these endangered species.

Confirmed Presence of Protected Species

  • The presence of Koalas and Greater Gliders has been confirmed at many of the project sites through field surveys and observations.
  • For example, 39 Greater Gliders were observed during preliminary studies for the Chalumbin wind farm, and 101 Koalas were recorded at the Lotus Creek wind farm site.

Significant Impacts on Endangered Populations

  • The large-scale habitat clearing for these renewable energy projects is expected to have significant negative impacts on the local populations of Koalas and Greater Gliders, which are both listed as threatened species.
  • Several projects, such as the Upper Burdekin wind farm, are noted to have the potential to significantly impact the existing populations of these endangered species.

This information highlights the critical trade-offs between renewable energy development and the conservation of threatened species in Queensland. It raises important questions about how to balance these competing priorities in a sustainable way.

Minister Presentation RRA

Protecting Biodiversity While Delivering Renewable Energy

The proposed Queensland Renewable Energy Zones (QREZ) in North Queensland overlap significantly with national parks, state forests, and other protected areas that are home to many endangered, vulnerable and near-threatened species. The accumulative impacts from the proposed renewable energy projects in these sensitive areas present an unacceptably high threat to biodiversity.

 

Specific Projects Threaten Endangered Species in High Biodiversity Areas

  • The proposed Chalumbin Wind Farm is located in a high-elevation habitat hugging the Wet Tropics World Heritage boundary, which is home to the endangered Magnificent Brood-frog and other sensitive species.
  • The proposed Upper Burdekin Wind Farm is also situated in a high biodiversity habitat that provides habitat for Sharman’s Rock-wallabies, North Queensland’s best koala population, and other vulnerable and endangered species.

Proper planning and safeguards can deliver renewable energy while protecting biodiversity. Maps show potential locations for new transmission lines in lower biodiversity areas that could enable solar and wind projects in less sensitive areas.

Imagine a future where the Great Dividing Range stands tall and proud, its forests teeming with life, its rivers flowing clear and clean. Imagine the joy and wonder of future generations as they explore this magnificent landscape, marvelling at the diversity of life that thrives within it. This is the future we must fight for, and it is a future that is within our grasp – if only we dare to reach for it.

Heartbreaking Images of a Threatened Landscape

The images provided paint a distressing picture of the fate that has befallen the Upper Burdekin Site, a region that once held immense ecological value and was slated for protection as a national park. Sadly, this biologically rich area has now been earmarked for industrial development, a decision that the author finds utterly perplexing and deeply troubling.

These images serve as a stark reminder of the ongoing battles to safeguard the integrity of Australia’s unique and irreplaceable ecosystems. They highlight the urgent need for a more holistic and far-sighted approach to conservation, one that recognizes the inherent value of these landscapes and the irreparable harm that can be caused by short-term, profit-driven decisions.

PTBA acknowledges the contribution of Steven Nowakowski who has provided his mapping and filming products for the enlightenment of everyone.

 

PTBA acknowledges Jeanette Kemp for supplying information on the impacts to vegetation communities by renewables that are planned or approved in Queensland. 

 

The approved projects are flying through a fast-track process (streamlined approval process) called the State Code 23 for Wind Farms. 

 

There are project proposals that may progress, including Eungella Wind Farm, Proserpine Wind Farm, Karma Wind Farm and Hidden Valley Wind Farm amongst many others. If these and other proposals come to fruition, there could be a continuous string of turbines for nearly 1,500 kilometres along the Great Dividing Range. There are currently 3,225 turbines in the pipeline and 3,736km of new haulage roads to be bulldozed into remote wild places.

 

Dr Kemp’s data does not include ’non remnant’ forests to be cleared which can also be significantly high in biodiversity. An argument by the conservation sector is that the beef industry clears more land. Yes, it does. But it is mostly non-renewant or Category X.

As a society, we have a moral obligation to “do no harm” and ensure that our actions do not diminish the natural wonders that make Australia so unique. The future of the Great Dividing Range, and the countless species that depend on it, hangs in the balance.