Past Achievements

<div>The BEC has worked on many environmental issues in the Bellinger Valley as well as regionally, state-wide, country-wide and on internationally significant issues. We have written submissions to the Federal Government on marine protection, sustainable energy, sustainable buildings, sustainable agriculture, Koala protection and forests. We are also participating in the national debate on conservation of our dwindling fresh water resources including the management of the Murray/Darling river system. We have also submitted to the NSW planning debate currently discussed in the NSW Parliament.</div>
<div>As a group of environmentalists working towards sustainability and protecting the biodiversity of a semi-rural area, our opinion and determination have often met with resistance from the logging, farming and fishing fraternity. We have in all instances promoted dialogue with our adversaries; and the outcome of such dialogue, often over a lengthy period of time, has led to a significant understanding and co-operation between the various sectors. We always seek consensus and co-operation with other community organisations and present our proposals to enhance and protect the natural environment to stakeholder organisations such as the local Tourism Organisation, the Chamber of Commerce, service groups and local authorities. This approach has lead to a better understanding of the issues by the broader community, refinements of the proposal and a sense of ownership of the project by the whole community.</div>
<p lang=”en-AU”><strong>National Parks</strong></p>
<p lang=”en-AU”>We have promoted through submissions:</p>

<li>The New England Wilderness (World Heritage) inclusion in the National Park system.</li>
<li>The Upper Bellinger Catchment inclusion in the National Park system.</li>
<li>The Bongil Bongil NP inclusion in the National Park system.</li>
<li>The Bellinger River NP (from which we received recognition and thanks from the NSW Minister of the Environment) inclusion in the National Park system.</li>
<li>The expansion of the Dorrigo NP (World Heritage) with the inclusion of McGrath’s Hump</li>
<li>Several other nature reserves in and around the Bellinger Valley.</li>
<li>The protection of the local Koala colony at Pine Creek State Forest, now part of the Bongil Bongil NP and the Pacific Highway Koala-overpass had active participation from the BEC.</li>

McGrath’s Hump into Dorrigo NP

McGrath’s Hump is the trademark of the Bellinger Valley. Based on a Gumbayngggirr legend, it is the profile of a warrior’s face. His name was Ngali and it was his job to protect the women that came to give birth to their babies in the Bellinger river (Bindarray Yurruun). He fell asleep and was punished by being turned into stone and he is watching the place for ever and ever.

In 1998 two members of the BEC attended a Community Heritage Workshop (part of the NSW Comprehensive Regional Assessment (RFA) process) in Dorrigo with a list of areas we wanted incorporated in the NSW National Park system. Foremost on the list was the forest hill known as McGrath’s Hump which at the time was part of the NSW State Forest’s tenure. As we were the only two conservation representatives at the workshop among 40 other community people we advocated loudly for our chosen area with the results that most people at the meeting supported the nomination of McGrath’s Hump. It became the only feature outside the National Park system chosen from our area.

<p lang=”en-AU”><strong>Marine Parks</strong></p>
<p lang=”en-AU”>We have campaigned for the increased protection of the marine environment and played a leading role in the establishment and expansion of the Solitary Islands Marine Park’s protected area. Nationally we promoted the expansion of the “Green” sanctuary zones in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park (World Heritage) and the Lord Howe Island MP by displaying the draft zoning plans at our Plant Fair and the Bellingen Community Market, leading to a major participation in the submission process from this region.  BEC has written substantially submissions to the protection of the Coral-sea and the Temperate East Pacific Ocean. Also our expertise has benefited other community groups which seek help in protecting their local environment.</p>
<p lang=”en-AU”><strong>Recycling</strong></p>
<p lang=”en-AU”>BEC helped in the establishment of the recycling scheme for the Bellingen Shire Council and the Eco-house selling re-usable material to the general public at its outlet at the refuse and recycling centre in Raleigh.</p>
<p lang=”en-AU”><strong>River and Estuary Care</strong></p>
<p lang=”en-AU”>The BEC has promoted and participated in the protection of the endangered Bellinger River Emydura andElseya turtles and is working with the Bellingen Landcare and local river-care groups to restore and protect the riparian environment of the local river-systems. We participated in the macro-water reforms. The protection of coastal wetlands is high on our agenda, we successfully participated in the campaign to prevent the destruction of the local Cameron’s Corner Wetland by the RTA’s waterfallway upgrade.</p>
<p lang=”en-AU”><strong>Forests </strong></p>
<p lang=”en-AU”>State-wide we have participated in the Regional Forest Agreement, advocating sustainable timber harvesting in public and private forests and the protection of NSW‘s biodiversity.</p>
<p lang=”en-AU”><strong>Bikepaths</strong></p>
<p lang=”en-AU”>We have initiated a promotion of cycleways in the Bellingen local government area.</p>