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Queensland Hydro's Blatant Disregard for UN Sustainable Goals

As advocates for the preservation of Eungella's unique and precious environment, we at Save Eungella are deeply committed to sustainable development that respects both our natural world and the needs of future generations. This commitment aligns with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UNSDGs) – a universal call to action to end poverty, protect the planet, and ensure that all people enjoy peace and prosperity by 2030.

United Nations Sustainable Development Goals
United Nations Sustainable Development Goals

However, as we delve deeper into the implications of the Pioneer-Burdekin Pumped Hydro Project spearheaded by Queensland Hydro, concerns arise about how several of these goals are already being undermined, with the potential for more breaches in the future.


1. Goal 6: Clean Water and Sanitation

This goal emphasises the importance of sustainable management of water resources. The proposed damming and alterations in water flow patterns by the hydro project could drastically impact the water quality and ecosystem dynamics of the region, threatening both the natural environment and water resources vital for local communities.


2. Goal 11: Sustainable Cities and Communities

The development of the hydro project threatens the unique character of the Eungella community. The influx of workers and machinery, increased noise, and landscape changes disrupt the peaceful, natural setting that makes Eungella a special place to live and visit.


3. Goal 13: Climate Action

While renewable energy projects are often seen as positive steps towards climate action, the environmental cost of such large-scale infrastructural interventions raises questions. The destruction of significant natural habitats and potential impacts on local biodiversity seem contrary to the ethos of sustainable, environmentally friendly development.


4. Goal 15: Life on Land

Eungella is home to unique flora and fauna, including species like the Eungella Honeyeater and the Northern Highland Koala. The construction and operation of the hydro project pose significant threats to these species and their habitats, potentially leading to loss of biodiversity.


5. Goal 16: Peace, Justice, and Strong Institutions

The lack of transparent communication and genuine community consultation by Queensland Hydro has caused distress and division within the community. It undermines the trust in institutions that are meant to represent and protect citizen interests.


6. Goal 17: Partnerships for the Goals

The spirit of this goal is collaboration towards sustainable development. However, the unilateral approach taken in the planning and initial phases of the Pioneer-Burdekin project signifies a missed opportunity for meaningful collaboration with the local community and environmental groups.


As we continue to scrutinise the development of the Pioneer-Burdekin Pumped Hydro Project, it becomes increasingly clear that several key UNSDGs are not just at risk of being ignored but are actively being breached. This project, in its current form, undermines the principles of sustainability and responsible development that we, as a global community, have committed to achieving.


Given the pivotal role of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UNSDGs) in guiding global efforts towards a sustainable future, one might wonder about the ramifications of failing to adhere to these goals. While the UNSDGs are not legally binding, failing to meet them can have significant indirect consequences. Non-compliance can lead to international criticism and diminished standing on the global stage, affecting a country's reputation and, potentially, its economic and diplomatic relations. Domestically, it can result in public outcry, loss of trust in governmental and corporate entities, and potential legal challenges, especially in cases where local laws align with these goals. For projects like the Pioneer-Burdekin Pumped Hydro Project, disregarding the UNSDGs not only risks environmental and social harm but also jeopardises Australia's commitment to global sustainability standards, inviting scrutiny and opposition both at home and internationally.


We at Save Eungella urge a re-evaluation of the project, considering not just the immediate benefits of renewable energy, but the long-term impacts on our community, our environment, and our commitment to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. Only through a balanced approach can we truly achieve a sustainable future for all.

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