It has been 3 years since WBBCC began the epic journey of preparing the Legal Case against Burnett Water Pty Ltd (Owned now by SunWater Ltd- Corporate Entity of QLD Gov) for an alleged failure to protect the QLD Lungfish at Paradise Dam and we finally have a date locked in for Judgement. Justice Logan will hand down his Judgement on Friday 4th March from 10:15am at the Commonwealth Law Courts on North Quay, Brisbane. This has been an enormous challenge for WBBCC. We began with a concept and took it all the way to the Federal Court thanks to the generous support from the community which saw us raise approx $190,000 in donations and approx $200,000 in Legal Aid from the Commonwealth based upon it’s test case status. This case highlighted the importance of adequately protecting the Federally listed Threatened Species and it’s inability to successfully gain fish passage up and downstream of the Burnett River via the failed ‘State Of The Art’ Fish Transfer Device at Paradise Dam. This Legal Case brought the issue into the public eye and demonstrated to the then Federal Environment Minister, Peter Garrett, why the Proposed Traveston Crossing Dam would fail to protect the QLD Lungfish, even if an approval was heavily conditioned. During the first week of the Lungfish Trial, Peter Garrett flew to Brisbane and informed the QLD Government and the community that:
“It is my decision to say NO to the Traveston Crossing Dam because it poses an unacceptable risk to Threatened Species such as the QLD Lungfish.”
WBBCC firmly believes that the launching of this case, had an impact on his decision and ultimately the continued protection of the Lungfish from large scale impoundments on the Mary River.
So the time has come to prepare ourselves for the decision. We will accept Justice Logan’s decision whatever it may be, knowing that regardless of whether we win or lose, this action has had an enormous impact on the protection of the QLD Lungfish in the Mary River and highlighted the fact that Environmentally Conditioned Approvals do not necessarily ensure that the company responsible will always adhered to the approval conditions unless someone throws the book at them. The best case scenario resulting from this legal action will be that the Lungfish is adequately protected in the Burnett River by being given the right to safely gain access up and downstream of Paradise Dam to ensure their survival. How this occurs will be up Justice Logan. Either way, WBBCC will stand proud of what we have achieved because we gave it our best shot!