Queensland's Citizen Science Hub

Geoff Edwards

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In Queensland, planning of rural properties took root in the early 1990s, fostered in the Department of Primary Industries. Even for a small property, the issues that are considered are complex and extend beyond strategic determination of the best land-use for each paddock to detailed prescriptions for ongoing maintenance. This leaflet: Planning Your Property: How to Get Started in Grazing Lands is an early attempt to encourage property holders to document the attributes of their holding and their intentions for future management (34MB).

The Prime Minister’s Prizes for Science award Australian scientists and innovators with prizes to recognise outstanding achievements in science and research-based innovation.

Closing date: Thursday 9 February 2023 5:00pm AEDT

There are five Science Prizes ranging between $50,000 and $250,000.

The Prizes are awarded for outstanding achievements in:

  • scientific research
  • research-based innovation
  • excellence in science teaching.

Further information:

https://business.gov.au/grants-and-programs/prime-ministers-prizes-for-science

Landslip is a significant but under-acknowledged risk to residential development and infrastructure in vulnerable localities. Senior geologist Warwick Willmott wrote an account Slope Stability and Its Constraints on Closer Settlement in the Foothills of the Toowoomba Range, Gatton Shire, Number 44 in the 1984 Record Series of the Geological Survey of Queensland.

“The prime cause of the landslides appears to be the removal of forest cover since European settlement, which has reduced mechanical support for the slopes, and allowed groundwater pressures to rise to critical levels.”

The report delineates 13 stability zones by relating known landslide occurrences to combinations of topographic, geological and groundwater conditions.

 

The stock routes of Queensland are an invaluable economic, community and environmental resource. They have an enduring function in allowing transfer of stock from properties to market and from properties in drought to properties with pasture. They have suffered lamentably from under-investment by governments and neighbouring landholders; the encroachment of weeds; drought; and incompatible agistment (static grazing).

In the 1990s and 2000s, a coalition of civil society groups advocated for the secure retention and better management of the Stock Route Network (SRN). This webpage preserves some of the documents, maps and photographs produced by the group. We can be quite certain that the Network will always be vulnerable to both neglect and attempts to privatise, and so the arguments presented in these materials will always be of contemporary value.

We thank Grahame Rogers, former Secretary of the Coalition, for safe-keeping these documents and making them available to QSN.

General Overview  and Objectives. (more soon).

 Figure 1947 poster for AutoCar Trucks, ironically hauling petroleum for a distributor called “Peak Oil”. Source: Plan59 Museum of Mid-Century Illustration, Fairfax Virginia. http://www.plan59.com/. (Source M. Gutteridge paper https://scienceqld.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/12/Gutteridge_M_Peak_Oil_Rural.pdf).

Peak oil (https://scienceqld.org/2022/12/21/peak-oil/ cited 24-12/2022)

Published 21 December 2022 | By Geoff Edwards

Popular articles explaining “peak oil” and urging governments to prepare for it have fallen away since about 2010, primarily because the exploitation of large reserves of shale oil in the USA using new drilling techniques increased global supply substantially, then later, because Covid suppressed demand. Neither of these phenomena invalidate the concept of peak oil, which marks the date when production cannot be expanded to meet demand, which is when about half the easily accessible oil has been consumed.

There is a large literature on peak oil and it is beyond the scope of QSN to summarise the issues or present a comprehensive archive. However, copies of two landmark papers suppressed by the organisations that produced them fell off a truck and are reproduced here. To them we have added a few other thoughtful documents, prepared in an era when concern about peak oil was at its height, and that deserve wider exposure than they ever received.

Official attempts to ignore the phenomenon will cost Australia dearly as they have been a major cause of our nation’s slowness to transition to sustainable forms of transportation and city design. Physical infrastructure is expected to have a lifetime of 50+ years, perhaps much more, and governments’ continued investment in roads built on assumptions that vehicular traffic will continue to increase without limit shows that the lessons of the peak oil debate have not been heeded. The delays in arrival of peak oil have simply delayed, not avoided, the need to reduce consumption of liquid fossil fuels, so in one sense the date of peak oil is not particularly relevant and the usefulness of peak oil as a proxy for the limits to economic growth has not been invalidated.

A competent report by staff of Brisbane City Council was, we are informed, not published, by instruction from management.

A competent report by ABARE was withdrawn and attempts made to erase it from memory by re-assigning the report number (061) to a quite different publication.

An introductory report Toward Oil Resilience by the Queensland public service’s Oil Vulnerability Task Force was published in 2008 but the recommendations were not pursued when the champion, Andrew McNamara MP of Hervey Bay, lost his seat at a state election. This was a pathetic effort by the public service, as if Queensland’s dependence on imported oil had evaporated on the day of the election. The saga demonstrates that officers’ persistence AND political support as well as technical knowledge are needed for progress. In the absence of any one, progress is hobbled. The transcript of an interview with Mr McNamara is insightful. This report was described as “the world’s first known study of a region’s vulnerability to energy shortages due to global oil peak.”

Two reports produced by consultant Michael Gutteridge for South West NRM in 2007 also did not receive the exposure they deserved. But the issues require a state and national response beyond the capacity of local organisations. When reading Peak Oil: An Introduction for the Average Australian and Peak Oil: Implications for Rural and Remote Australia, keep in mind that global and national circumstances and law have evolved since then. Also, carbon policy has pushed oil vulnerability aside in public debate.

Comprehensive statistics on oil production and consumption clearly explained with graphs are available on Matt Mushalik’s Australian site https://crudeoilpeak.info/.

Migratory shorebird populations in Moreton Bay have declined by up to 79%. The Moreton Bay Foundation, a QSN member group, has published the findings of a collaborative research project that used drones to survey shorebirds. The trained network detected 99% of birds and only falsely detected birds 3% of the time. The project concluded that some species were highly sensitive to disturbance from the drones while others were less affected. The project recommended that recreational and commercial drone use needs to be carefully regulated to ensure that roosting shorebird flocks are not approached within distances that will disturb the most sensitive species likely to be present.


The concept of  ‘ecological footprint’ is simple enough in theory – it is a measure of the demands that an individual or a community or a nation place upon the resources of the earth. Producing a numerical value is more difficult because of the assumptions that need to be made to reduce intangibles to measurable entities. Also, modern Australians draw upon such a wide range of goods and services during daily life that tracking them down requires some very detailed calculations. So the figures produced for a given locality have little meaning as fixed values: the calculations are more valid if they are used to compare two areas during the one exercise, using the same assumptions and formulae.

Geographer and futurist Michael Gutteridge performed the calculations for the lands of south-western Queensland, in 2007. His report has been retrieved from archives for the benefit of QSN readers.


The Parks and Recreation Collection is a structured, open-access repository of contemporary and historical knowledge about parks and leisure in Australia, New Zealand and the western Pacific Islands.

The Collection has two main elements:

Document repository

PaRC includes a document library housed on the website of the peak industry body Parks and Leisure Australia.

Narratives

PaRC includes textual narratives explaining key themes in parks and leisure, news items and snippets of information worth recording. This element has been nick-named “An Australasian Wikipedia of Parks and Leisure”.

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