New oil and gas projects banned at Australian waterbird hot-spot
BirdLife Australia has welcomed a recent announcement by Queensland Premier Steven Miles, which will reinforce protections for the vital wetlands of the Channel Country within the Lake Eyre Basin.
Chris Purnell, BirdLife Australia's Wetland Birds Program Manager, emphasised the critical significance of these wetlands for the survival of some of Australia's most unique and threatened wetland-dependent bird species, including the Endangered Australian Painted-snipe.
"In times of flood these wetlands boom with breeding waterbirds. Herons, cormorants, pelicans and other wetland birds from across Australia will gather in the Channel Country in the tens of thousands to breed and grow their flocks. Today's announcement of new environmental regulations, including banning future oil and gas projects, will help protect this special place and ensure our amazing waterbirds thrive," said Purnell.
As well as waterbirds, huge flocks of Budgerigar gather at the Lake Eyre Basin in Queensland, Australia (PotMart186 via commons.wikimedia.org).
Sheena Gillman, BirdLife Southern Queensland Conservation Officer ‒ a driving force behind BirdLife Australia's public campaign advocating for enhanced protections in the Channel Country ‒ also endorsed the announcement. She urged the Miles Government to seize this opportunity for investment in sustainable nature-based tourism, saying: "After years of campaigning to protect this special place, bird and nature lovers will be celebrating the Queensland Government's announcement to remove the threat of oil and gas in the Channel Country.
"Investment in sustainable tourism opportunities is the next step and will provide regional rural communities a long-term economic alternative. Birdwatchers the world over make the pilgrimage to the Lake Eyre Basin during times of flood to witness the spectacle of thousands of waterbirds congregating together.
"We look forward to working with the Queensland Government to protect and promote this special part of Australia."