Billionaire, and wanna-be Prime Minister, Clive Palmer appeared on Australian national television as part of a Q&A panel on Monday 13th May. An audience member directed a question to Palmer concerning the fate of Bimblebox Nature Refuge (which he wants to dig up for coal), and about the future of the Australian environment if we ignore the need to properly protect conservation areas. Clive Palmer dodged the question and tried to divert attention from the issue by assuring the audience his coal carriages would be covered to stop dust flying out. When pinned on it, Clive rattled off his usual string of mis-truths about Bimblebox – seemingly investing in the theory that “if you tell a lie often enough, people begin to believe it” – not a good look for a hopeful Prime Minister. Here are some of the main ways his message is plain wrong:
- Bimblebox was NOT “declared under the Bligh Government”. It was declared under the Peter Beattie Queensland Government, with generous support and recognition from the John Howard Federal Government, with Robert Hill as Environment Minister.
- The conservation values of Bimblebox are not in question. Anna Bligh made a commitment prior to the 2012 election that she would protect nature refuges with high conservation values if she was re-elected, stating explicitly that would mean “…ruling out mining in areas like the Bimblebox nature refuge” . See her commitment in writing here.
- Bimblebox is covered by the STRONGEST form of protection for private conservation areas in Queensland. It is a fundamental flaw in State legislation that Nature Refuge Agreements signed between the landholders and the State Government do not prohibit mining – that is regardless of the conservation values of the refuge.
- Any plan to ‘offset’ the destruction of Bimblebox Nature Refuge would result in a net-loss of Queensland biodiversity. These ‘offset areas’ would be ‘protected’ by Nature Refuge Agreements, so would also not be safe from mining. This issue is further discussed in several excellent articles on The Conversation from May 2013, May 2012 and September 2011.
- Bimblebox is not trashed out cattle country. Bimblebox serves as an outstanding example of the coexistence of cattle production and biodiversity conservation. Private productive lands are increasingly recognised for their important role in contributing to landscape scale conservation in Australia and form a major part of the National Reserve System.
Clive eventually stated his intentions plainly at the end of the segment:
TONY JONES: But you do intend to dig it up, that’s the key question?
CLIVE PALMER: Well, of course we do. That’s what’s mining is all about, Tony.
This is not the first time we have had to counter Clive Palmer’s lies about Bimblebox. Here are a few links from our archive:
Who’s telling the truth about Bimblebox nature refuge?, ABC Brisbane with Steve Austin, 7th May 2012
Clive Palmer spreads mis-information, Capricorn Conservation Council
The truth about Bimblebox, Bimblebox blog, 5th May 2012