Dugongs, turtles and this weeks Council meeting

September 4th, 2011

I wrote this letter to the Chronicle today…

Cliff Cobb (FCC 3/9/11) makes a compelling case for the need to fund indigenous rangers… until the very last sentence of his letter. In this one sentence he states that ‘we need voluntary measures to ensure traditional dugong and turtle take is within sustainable limits’. To my way of thinking Cliff undoes all the excellent argument that has gone before. You see I don’t believe there is any reason whatsoever, that any traditional killing of endangered dugong and turtle should be allowed in our region. Where there is access to alternative food supplies via shops and supermarkets, the taking of any endangered animal should cease. I am not talking about remote regions like most of Northern Australia where there are no corner stores!

I question the argument that our indigenous peoples have the right to ‘take’ these animals for cultural reasons.  Food throughout our region is easily sourced without killing endangered wildlife. If the animals are taken for reasons other than eating then I ask that our indigenous elders question these cultural reasons and examine them carefully.

As a culture advances it changes and evolves. We no longer find slavery acceptable, we abhor racism, we won’t tolerate whaling, we allow women to work (as a student leaving school there were still jobs I could not apply for because I was a female) and we realise that if we want to preserve our native flora and fauna we need to preserve our natural habitat. Is it time then that our indigenous community took a stand and decided to stop hunting turtles and dugongs in our waters?

I hope we can all work together to better protect these fragile creatures and ensure that our children’s children will be able to swim and snorkel and glimpse these wonderful creatures. I hope that as a community we can evolve and grow together and better protect the intrinsic values that make our patch of this country such a special place.


This week we sit in Hervey Bay on Wednesday at 9.30am for our Ordinary Meeting Number 16. Items to be decided include a response to a petition calling for a skate park in Brendon Hansen Park in Granville. We receive our quarterly activity report on compliance issues which contains statistics showing animal registrations and euthanising etc. Also parking and food services related info etc. We are required to update our delegating powers for the CEO in relation to the EPA and Building and Integrity Acts. We decide on a proposal to lease a building at the Arts and Crafts village in Bideford St to the Arts Council. We receive the WBWC Corporate Plan. We receive the draft Local Gov Area Pest Management Plan. But the two issues that interest me the most are two reports. One is the application to construct 32 Low Density houses on the Hervey Bay Golf Course and the other is in relation to opting in or out, areas of our region, for the State Government Exploration for resources. I look forward to some interesting debate on these issues.

The agenda should be available for viewing via the Council web site tomorrow afternoon. Cheers, Sue

3 Responses to “Dugongs, turtles and this weeks Council meeting”

  1. colin riddellon 04 Sep 2011 at 9:31 am

    Well said councillor no one should be killing endangered sea turtles and dugongs with no contols.

  2. Colin Burton 04 Sep 2011 at 10:21 am

    A very small matter Sue, but important for health nonetheless. How often do local food premises get inspected, without prior notice, with regard to cleanliness in out of sight areas and temperature of food in Bain Maries ? There is an excellent selection of lower price restaurants which are a blessing to pensioners looking for a reasonable price lunch whilst out, but the food as selected is frequently only lukewarm. Some of them go through a ritual of poking a thermometer into the food, writing on a clipboard, and then doing nothing to correct the matter. Not suggesting draconian fines, much as the media have been reporting the revenue raising attitude of some ( other) Councils, just a ‘gentle’ reminder about correct food holding practices. And a bit of a fright !

    With regard to ‘traditional owner’ killing of protected marine creatures as a change from junk takeaway food they might care to reflect that less than 200 years ago they themselves needed – and eventually got – protection from being slaughtered by the invading Europeans.

  3. Yvonneon 09 Sep 2011 at 11:46 am

    I support you wholly Sue this should not be happening when the species are endangered! We give the Japanese grief for killing the whales and we still allow this how hypocritical are we!
    If dugongs and sea turtles are going to be taken by traditional land owners then they should be done in traditional ways! Dug out hand made canoes, traditional spearing, and traditional feast for all the local TO’s. Not the way they are doing it now, speed boats, spear guns ……. what is traditional about that? And if you search in ebay you can find turtle shells and carved dugong teeth!

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