EFFECTIVE AND EQUITABLE GOVERNANCE OF THE LANDSCAPE
Bimblebox Nature Refuge lies within the Desert Uplands bioregion, located in the Galilee Basin, central Qld, Australia. In 2000 the property was purchased by a group of concerned families, with funding from the National Reserve System, to save it from clearing. In 2003, an agreement was signed between the land owners and the state government to "permanently protect" the property's conservation values. With 95% of Bimblebox Nature Refuge uncleared, and only 2.3% of the Desert Uplands bioregion protected, proper care of this property is vital. This agreement came with obligations to allow scientific research projects on the property and to maintain the habitat's conservation status. As a result, the caretaker focuses on optimising biodiversity through strategic cattle grazing. Scientific agencies, such as CSIRO and Queensland Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, have carried out research projects on Bimblebox.
In 2013, the Queensland State Government approved mining on Bimblebox, and four months later, the Federal Government gave approval to Clive Palmer's Galilee Coal Project (aka China First). This mine is one of many that have been approved in the Galilee Basin, bringing the fear of contamination of groundwater, or even loss of groundwater to property owners. It will clear half of the 8000ha property for an open cut coal mine, and the remainder of the property will have a long-wall underground coal mine beneath it.
Bimblebox is protected in perpetuity no longer, despite the conservation values of the property and the lack of any continued viability of thermal coal mining. During the past six years, issues were raised in a wide range of forums to try to change the government's flawed legislation that allows mining on protected areas. However, not much would have been achieved without the efforts of a few but resolute volunteers. The landowners are now fighting to protect Bimblebox from destruction and have formed The Bimblebox Alliance Inc.