Keep skies dark for our wildlife: conservationist
INTERNATIONAL Dark Sky accreditation would be a lifesaver for the Bunya Mountains' unique nocturnal wildlife.
That is according to Bunya Mountains property owner and conservationist, Bruce Thompson.
Mr Thompson, who lives in Sydney but regularly travels to his Bunya Mountains property, said limiting the amount of artificial light in the area would have benefits for nocturnal species which call Mountains home.
"Things like fire beetles, powerful owls, tawny frogmouths, bandicoots, mountain possums. All of these depend on darkness," Mr Thompson said.
"You want to encourage the nocturnal fauna. They're already stressed as it is because of climate change."
Mr Thompson said his fellow Bunya Mountains property owners, many of whom voted against the Dark Sky proposal at a community meeting last night, November 22, must not have a clear idea of what accreditation could mean for the region.
"They obviously don't realise there's funding involved in the Bunya Mountains being certified," he said.
"They haven't been properly informed.
"You've got to think long-term. How will this benefit the region?"
Kingaroy Observatory director, James Barclay, agrees the proposal would benefit nocturnal species.
"This light management plan, which is part and parcel of all Dark Sky applications, also was going to protect the Bunya Mountains' natural night time environment for nocturnal animals, which are vastly depleting throughout the world due to artificial light," he said.
At a hearing in Melbourne on Tuesday, November 22, Australia's Faunal Extinction Crisis inquiry heard from groups including the Wilderness Society, which is recommending a complete overhaul of environmental laws in the country.
"Australia has one of the world's worst records for extinction and protection of animal species," it said in its submission. "Australians depend on thriving ecosystems for their wellbeing and prosperity, and extinction fundamentally threatens the healthy functioning of these ecosystems."
It is also calling for enhanced protection for the habitats of at-risk animals and a national environment plan to set objectives for state and federal governments that would be reviewed every five years.
Mr Barclay said his concern was for the ecology of the region, not for funding or business gains.
"All we are trying to do is to protect what dark sky areas there are left in the world, and secondly to protect the natural environment of those areas," he said.
South Burnett Regional Council mayor Keith Campbell, who attended the community meeting on November 22 where the Dark Sky proposal was unanimously voted down, said he was not aware of any issues facing nocturnal animals.
"I'm sure a lot of that would have been investigated at a time before housing and development was even allowed to occur up there," Cr Campbell said.
"That is the process of development applications. There is no reason to believe it's an issue."