New look report card gets a fail
HEALTHY Waterways has come under fire for the ratings given in its annual Report Card.
Member for Lockyer Ian Rickuss said waterways in the region were looking better than they had for years, with water levels replenished by recent rain events and birdlife and fish in abundance, yet the western region was rated as the worst in the south-east.
Mr Rickuss said for a number of years he had found the reporting process "puzzling" as the rating method was confusing.
"Little sense can be gleaned from the report," he said. "This has again been highlighted this year when the waterways environmental condition for the Stanley River catchment is a B, yet the star rating for the waterways benefit is only 2.5 stars out of five. Surely, one of the major drinking water supplies to millions of people in south-east Queensland, that is also used recreationally by hundreds of boaties, could not be only 2.5 stars."
"Then we have the Upper Brisbane River, which is now a D. In 2014 was a C and on an upward trajectory, as highlighted in the 2014 report, yet this year it has gone backwards to June 2015 when there has been no major flood events but good to average rainfall events.
"If you compare 2014 mid river results which were an F with a downward trajectory coming in at 2015 with a D and only 2.5 stars, yet this is Brisbane's water supply.
"The Lockyer catchment creeks are in the best condition that I have seen since the late '80s, yet this report still highlights only a D+ for the environmental conditions and only 2.5 stars for the social and economic water benefit rating."
Chairman of the Healthy Waterways Board, Dr Paul Greenfield, said the 2015 Report Card environmental grades were not directly comparable with previous years due to expanded methodology used this year.
"Since Healthy Waterways began monitoring south-east Queensland's waterways in 2000, the focus has been to reduce point source pollution," Dr Greenfield said. "Over the years, the amount of point source pollution in our waterways has improved, so we have expanded our environmental monitoring to track additional environmental pressures, the number one being sediment in our waterways."