April TAPP General Meeting

TAPP Inc. General Meeting,  3.00pm Tuesday 9 April 2024

Welcome and Acknowledgment of Traditional Owners
Guest Speakers

Dean Crust, Maritime Safety Queensland (MSQ) Pumicestone Passage Ranger and Coen Harrison also from MSQ. Dean is responsible for northern Pumicestone Passage and Coen for the southern Pumicestone Passage.

They started by explaining that Maritime Safety Queensland main focus is on both Safety and Pollution. They work towards changing behaviour on the water: speeding, safe vessels, speed near people in the water. Lack of safety can have a dreadful impact on people.

They suggested we check out the website https://www.msq.qld.gov.au/ It was acknowledged that there is a lot on the site but they encouraged us to give them a call if there is anything we don’t understand.   If we can’t change behaviour there are two options:

·         Prosecution – can be difficult to achieve as detailed evidence is required to be “beyond reasonable doubt”.

·         Infringements – much easier to carry out.

In their role they have to find a balance and decide which is the most effective option,  keeping in mind their main focus of Safety and Pollution and the resources required for a prosecution.

The main areas of concern with pollution are oil, sewage, rubbish from ships, not the environmental side of things. Spills are mostly oil or diesel and the other problem area is sewage from people living on their boats. On-board living has regulations to ensure pollution is managed, including sewage. Approval is required from MSQ to live on-board a vessel.

Melinda asked some questions about the on-board living at Bells Creek and the concerns locals have about the sewage pollution.

MSQ is working with Council and the house boat owners to bring them up-to-date with legislative requirements. Observation is necessary at times to determine if they are living on the boat or not. Live on-board vessels must have a holding tank for sewage and then dispose this at a dump site. A dump site is needed at Bells Creek.

Coen mentioned that some people are living on the edge, they are vulnerable and don’t have the finances or the mental health to take care of themselves or their boat.

Both Dean and Coen explained the work that is currently being undertaken with the on-board living community on the Noosa River, they see it as a test case. They have successfully negotiated with the owners of 4 on-board living vessels to move off the river. In Noosa, MSQ inspectors have worked with qualified professionals to assess the mental health of owners who are vulnerable and check the seaworthiness of their vessel. Seaworthiness means that the vessel is fit for its intended voyage.

The learnings from the Noosa experience will be very useful for identifying what worked and what didn’t.

The plan is to implement the same process in Pumicestone Passage starting with Bells Creek. Now that there is a dedicated office in Pumicestone Passage this will commence by the end of 2024. Coen is organising a sewage dump site for Bells Creek. It was mentioned that in some areas a mobile dump vessel comes to the boats and that may be a good idea to have one of these come to the Bells Creek jetty regularly.

No more moorings will be going into Bells Creek. If others decide to relinquish their boats MSQ will pull them out of the water, MSQ plan to work with vulnerable people first.

They hope to have another vessel and their Pelican Waters Marina office established by the end of the year.

Paul  mentioned that the 6-knot sign near the Bulcock Beach life savers  (beach entry 300) has gone and needs replacing.  People swim around that area and it is dangerous if vessels don’t reduce their speed. Dean will follow that up and get the sign replaced.

Ken asked about the efficiency of the fuelling facility at Pelican Waters Marina. Dean acknowledged that there had been a spill with a vessel sinking and the spill was contained very well – Dean said that he had confidence in their ability to contain spills quickly. 1 cup of diesel spilt in water can spread to an acre!

Rules for anchoring in Noosa are changing and this will hopefully stop the need to define live on-board.

Regulations are easier to change than The Act. Dean remarked that Pumicestone Passage is a magnificent water way and it is good that we work to protect it.

Muriel asked if the legal people have experience in this area. Dean said that there is the need to explain different parts of the legislation to those involved. Is there much success? Dean said there is not a high level of success – about 50/50.

After the breakthrough and the resulting silting up, the buoy moorings started to be reduced. There have been no new buoy moorings in Pumicestone Passage or Bells Creek.

Dean noted that when someone owns a vessel it can be hard to negotiate with them to move on, it is a long complex process – we can’t just take a person’s asset.

Don- shared his experience with a floating log that damaged his boat. Dean suggested that if you come across a floating object that risks direct safety, mark it and call or email and we will get rid of it – he noted that MSQ can’t remove water plants. Dean said that there is a difference between the speed limit and safe speed – proceed with the conditions in mind.

Dean can be contacted by email at Dean.B.Crust@msq.qld,gov.au  or by phone through the Mooloolaba Offfice on 5373 2310 or mobile 0419 778 166.


1.      General Meeting

·         Apologies – as listed in attendance book     Moved: Lynn           Seconded: Don Ritchie

·         Acceptance of Minutes of 5 March General Meeting       Moved: Don Smith        Seconded: Lynn

Correspondence Summary

March Emails out 22

March Emails in 20

Moved: Ken        Seconded: Carla

Treasurer’s Report

Treasurers Report for Take Action for Pumicestone Passage as at 9 March 2023

TAPP Bendigo Bank Cash Management Account

Opening balance as January 2024                                                                  $14,530.58


Interest                                                                                                                               0.12                                                               Balance-TAPP General Account as at 31 March 2024                                $ 14,530.70


2.      Matters for Information and Discussion

·         Aura Stewardship

·         Biosphere Awards  – the Sunshine Coast Biosphere – Community Awards (previously Sunshine Coast Australia Day Awards) are a celebration of the contribution of individuals, community groups and organisations in our region. Nominations are now open, closing 30 April 2024.

·         SCEC month-long event for World Environment Day

·         TAPP’s Onslow Event Sunday 2nd June

·         Response from Emma Thomas

·         Coochin Fields has another extension to 11 April. The large shed has been removed from the site.

·         Peter Kamen’s paper about skin infections to be sent out to all members.  Peter spoke to his paper

3.      New business?  Call for Sunshine Coast environmental groups to apply for grants to care for our wildlife and natural environment. Applications open on 15 April 2024.
4.      Around the table

Tony – alerted the group to the changes to Economic Developmentt Queensland (EDQ) – On 20 March 2024 to the Hon Grace Grace MP, Minister for State Development and Infrastructure, Minister for Industrial Relations and Minister for Racing introduced the Economic Development and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2024 into the Queensland Parliament. The Bill was referred to the Cost of Living and Economics Committee for detailed consideration. TAPP was invited to endorse a response – very short timelines.

Tony also mentioned Toondah Harbour community group has had a first win with stopping the development of this precious Ramsar site – watch that space.

Melinda – suggested we get Aura to talk about their environment plan. Ken suggested Mark Stephens from Stockland – frog ponds, responsible pet ownership.

 Jude  – commented on Coochin Fields and the fact that numerous music festivals around Australia are currently being cancelled due to falling ticket sales, so that the developer’s arguments about financial benefits for the region no longer apply, and in fact it would be a financial risk approving the use of the site for entertainment uses, over and above the adverse environmental effects of holding mass events in such a sensitive wetland site.

Also, Jude referred to the dates for the upcoming guided Faunawatch walks, which are open to members of the public, not just WPSQ members. TAPP members may be particularly interested in the May and June walks, which are in the Lamerough Creek West Environment Reserve, and the Blackbutt Forest, Baringa, respectively. Attached is the latest Faunawatch newsletter, with details.

5.      Meeting close. Next meeting Tuesday 7 May 2024 at 3.00pm.

Guest speaker for TAPP General Meeting Tuesday 7 May is Georgia Keeshan.

Georgia is a Council Coastal Engineer and can speak to us about the Coastal Hazard Adaptation Strategy (CHAS), drainage and beach erosion and other issues if advised prior to the meeting. Do you have other issues you would like the guest speaker to address? Email your suggestions to Ken.