It is the season when snakes are noticeably active. Being aware of these facts may help you if you encounter a snake.
Snakes are more defensive and territorial during the spring so giving them a wider berth is a good idea. Many people pass close to snakes every day but because snakes are so afraid of us and prefer to stay out of our way, we never notice. Snakes know where to find the food, water and shelter in their territory and learn the daily movements of the resident humans.
Turtles. Beaches. Tourists with sunburn. These are the things that spring to mind when I think of the Reef. Not a Reef-wrecking mining project.
But that’s what could happen because Federal Environment Minister Greg Hunt has just granted a new approval for the Carmichael mega-mine and railway project that’s driving the expansion of the Abbot Point coal export terminal beside the Great Barrier Reef.
Despite millions of Australians saying they want to keep the Great Barrier Reef beautiful and protected for years to come, the government has gone and delivered the mining industry exactly what they wanted. Six weeks ago the project hit a hurdle when the Federal Court ruled that Environment Minister Greg Hunt didn’t follow environmental laws when he approved the mine. But that didn’t stop them.
Now, Minister Hunt has turned around and issued a new approval to allow the project to proceed. This decision will mean more dredging, industrialisation and shipping on our Reef.
And as if that’s not bad enough - the new Turnbull Government is now considering using your money to pay for it.
We know this project doesn’t stack up and has been plagued with problems. Globally, coal prices are falling, making new coal projects unprofitable and the mine’s owner Adani is struggling to secure international and Australian funding.
It seems the LNP government are the only ones willing to support it.
Prime Minister Turnbull needs to rule out any public funding to prop up this damaging project up through the North Australia Infrastructure Fund.
Fight for the Reef team
Mickey Mouse Plant
Mickey Mouse Plant (Ochna serrulata) is a native of South Africa which produces 5-6 berries per flower head. It has been widely planted as an ornamental in our area. Unfortunately an insidious invader hides behind the cute common name. The name refers to the black fruit which could be mistaken for Mickey Mouse ears. The fruit is popular with all frugivorous birds - honeyeaters, currawongs, pigeons, etc. A small bush can produce hundreds of seeds and most geminate. They throw down a root system so tenacious that even a small seeding is difficult to hand-pull. Ochna is most commonly found in full sun but happily grows under canopy. It is a serious threat to biodiversity since it can become dominant in the shrub layer in a natural forest and has done so on some local private properties. There are 3 species of moth caterpillar known to eat plants of the family Ochnaceae in Australia but they don’t seem to like this plant. [Photos courtesy of NSW DPI]