Concern for finch at Qld Carmichael mine

·2-min read

There are demands to stop the clearing of finch habitat at the Carmichael mine site in Queensland after claims key recommendations were ignored before a management plan was signed off.

An independent review obtained by Birdlife Australia through right to information laws "highlights Adani's failure to incorporate critical expert recommendations into its approved Black-throated Finch management plan", the organisation says.

The review was not released to the public before the revised management plan was approved by the Queensland Government in 2019, but the state's Environment Department refutes suggestions findings were ignored.

Based on the recommendations, it says Bravus, formally Adani, was required to commit to establishing a population estimate and appropriate monitoring protocols as well as a low grazing regime.

"An initial population estimate after the first two years has now been developed," the department said in a statement.

"The (Black-throated Finch management plan) commits to this being reviewed annually and then revised at the conclusion of the research program at year five."

However a report released by Birdlife Australia analysing the uptake of the recommendations says revisions to the management plan "were minor and do not address the major concerns and inadequacies" identified by the review.

"The Black-throated Finch has lost almost 90 per cent of its original habitat. There is little that can be done to compensate for the clearing of more habitat, as has been approved for the Carmichael mine," one of the report's authors April Reside says.

"It's clear from Adani's Black-throated Finch Management Plan that they are falling short of adequate planning by not taking on expert recommendations."

The Queensland Government should not have approved the plan, BirdLife Australia Black-throated Finch project officer Stephanie Todd said.

"The clearing Black-throated Finch habitat urgently needs to stop until the management plan incorporates the recommendations of independent experts which have so far been ignored," she said.

But according to the mining giant, it's population estimate conducted by ecologists "demonstrate that the finch is thriving".

"Thanks to Bravus' work studying the finch over the past decade, the scientific community now knows more about the black-throated finch than ever before," a spokesperson said in a statement.

It says $8 million has been allocated from 2020 to 2024 "to study and conduct environmental management practise to support the Black-throated Finch".

"Our research programs will be completed before there is any significant impact to black-throated finch habitat," the spokesperson said.

"Bravus will continue to conduct research on the Black-throated Finch over the coming years to ensure best-practice plans are in place for the management of finch habitat near the mine site."

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