The water-dependent asset register for the Galilee subregion lists 151 sociocultural assets, all of which have been assessed for this BA to have some level of dependency on either groundwater and/or surface water resources. All of these assets are of the ‘Cultural’ subgroup and are either classed as heritage sites or Indigenous sites. Most of the assets are from the Register of the National Estate, although there are also some assets from the National Heritage List and a single entry from the World Heritage List (Great Barrier Reef world heritage area). An updated version of the water-dependent asset register for the Galilee subregion is available at Bioregional Assessment Programme (2017).
The most recent version of the water-dependent asset register for the Galilee subregion contains 69 entries that have been added since the register was first published in 2015 (Sparrow et al., 2015). These additional assets all are culturally significant Indigenous features (such as specific sites or species) within the Galilee assessment extent, which were added to the water-dependent asset register following consultation with local Indigenous groups. The results of the consultation undertaken with a variety of Indigenous people for this BA are documented in a separate report (Constable and Love, 2014), which is available at www.bioregionalassessments.gov.au. This work noted that 24 of the Indigenous water-dependent assets are various types of fauna and flora that are considered to be of critical cultural heritage value. These include six bird species, five mammals, three reptiles, two fish and two crustacean species, as well as six species of plants (Table 48). The 24 plant and animal species did not have any specific spatial information provided about them during the consultation process, which means it is not possible for this BA to assess the location of these assets relative to the zone of potential hydrological change. Although it may be possible to use species distribution data from other independent sources (e.g. the Atlas of Living Australia) to assess if these species occur within the zone, the Assessment team does not consider this approach to be valid or justified within the BA context. This is because this method would conflate and potentially misrepresent Indigenous- and Western-science views of species and their distributions. In particular, the values associated with these species by Indigenous people with traditional lands in the Galilee assessment extent cannot simply be represented by species distribution mapping; rather, it involves a much more nuanced understanding of locations built around dreaming stories and cultural beliefs. It is also unclear if there is a simple one-to-one correspondence between Indigenous- and Western-science taxonomies of species (i.e. species definitions may differ). More detailed research and cultural understanding of the values associated with Indigenous assets is required to assess such intricacies, rather than a simple overlay analysis with spatial species distribution data.
Consequently, and consistent with the overall BA approach to assessing Indigenous assets that do not have specific spatial information, it has not been possible to further evaluate if the additional coal resource development will potentially affect these Indigenous assets. This means that impacts to these 24 Indigenous assets have not been ‘ruled out’ on the basis of this BA.
Table 48 Flora and fauna identified during consultation with local Indigenous groups and compiled in the water-dependent asset register for the Galilee subregion
Most of the Indigenous water-dependent assets listed in this table did not have any spatial information provided as part of the consultation process, which means that they cannot be assessed relative to the zone of potential hydrological change in the Galilee subregion. The punctuation and typography of the fauna and flora listed in this table may differ slightly from that in the source document and dataset, Aboriginal cultural water values – Galilee subregion (Constable and Love, 2014). The information in this table is also provided in an updated version of the water-dependent asset register for the Galilee subregion (Bioregional Assessment Programme, 2017).
Data: Bioregional Assessment Programme (Dataset 1)
About 97% of the sociocultural assets listed in the water-dependent asset register do not geographically intersect with the zone of potential hydrological change for the Galilee subregion. This indicates that potential impacts to these assets due to additional coal resource development are very unlikely (less than 5% chance). The complete list of the sociocultural assets that do not intersect with the zone are provided in the updated water-dependent asset register (Bioregional Assessment Programme, 2017). The sociocultural assets that are very unlikely to be impacted include several iconic national features such as the Great Barrier Reef world heritage area, the national heritage listed Simpson Desert and the Birdsville and Strzelecki Tracks Area, Edgbaston Springs Natural Indicative Place, and the Dig Tree Reserve Historic Registered place. In addition, there are approximately 15 national parks in the Galilee assessment extent that occur entirely beyond the zone of potential hydrological change, including the Diamantina, Idalia and Snake Range national parks.
The zone of potential hydrological change does intersect with parts of four different sociocultural assets from the water-dependent asset register, namely:
- Doongmabulla Springs – natural indicative place (Register of the National Estate)
- Lake Buchanan and catchment – natural registered place (Register of the National Estate)
- Old Bowen Downs Road – historic indicative place (heritage site) listed on the Register of the National Estate
- Cape River – surface water feature specified as an Indigenous site during consultation with Indigenous people about water values in the Galilee subregion.
A brief discussion of the potential impacts to these four sociocultural from additional coal resource development is outlined below.
18.104.22.168 Doongmabulla Springs natural indicative place
The cluster of individual spring vents and mounds collectively known as the Doongmabulla Springs is recognised as a natural indicative place on the Register of the National Estate. The potential impacts due to additional coal resource development on Doongmabulla Springs have previously been discussed in this product, as it is also recognised as a regionally important ecological asset (this illustrates that some assets can have multiple values associated with them). The Doongmabulla Springs are listed under three separate entries in the water-dependent asset register for the Galilee subregion, once as an ecological asset due to its vegetation providing habitat for potential species distributions, once as a surface water feature associated with a wetland, and once as a sociocultural asset (heritage site). Interestingly, the geographic area covered by each of these separate entries for Doongmabulla Springs is slightly different, with the entry for the heritage site covering about 3.6 km2. Given the comprehensive analysis of potential impacts to Doongmabulla Springs already provided in this product, no further analysis is considered necessary here.
22.214.171.124 Lake Buchanan and catchment natural registered place
Lake Buchanan and its catchment area are recognised as a natural registered place on the Register of the National Estate. This sociocultural asset occurs in the north-western part of the northern groundwater zone of potential hydrological change and is predicted to be subject to varying levels of drawdown in the near-surface Quaternary alluvium and Cenozoic sediment aquifer. The maximum area predicted to be impacted by drawdown is about 444 km2 (based on the 95th percentile of 0.2 m of drawdown in the alluvial/sediment aquifer). However, the potentially impacted area is much smaller at the 50th percentile (about 30 km2) and reduces to less than 0.1 km2 at the 5th percentile. Although some level of drawdown in the upper aquifer may affect the Lake Buchanan catchment area, it does not intersect with the area of the lake itself and is unlikely to directly affect the surface water systems. The varying levels of groundwater drawdown on the Lake Buchanan catchment area may potentially affect any GDEs that rely on access to the near-surface aquifer. However, analysis of standing water level data undertaken for this BA (available from the catchment and surrounding area) suggests that water levels are mostly deep in this part of the zone of potential hydrological change (commonly greater than 20 m below surface, as shown in Figure 39), and hence any potential impacts to GDEs are likely to be minimal.
126.96.36.199 Old Bowen Downs Road historic indicative place
Parts of the Old Bowen Downs Road intersect with the zone of potential hydrological change for the Galilee subregion. In particular, this road cuts across the zone where it occurs buffering the main channel of the Belyando and Suttor rivers, downstream of the groundwater component of the zone and upstream of Lake Dalrymple. Two of these river crossings coincide with the location of individual surface water modelling nodes on the river network (i.e. surface water nodes 51 and 53, see Figure 12), and hence it is possible to evaluate the maximum predicted changes in the surface water system at the locations where the Old Bowen Downs Road crosses the river. These modelled surface water changes are shown in Table 49. Although the impacts of these surface water changes on the road itself are expected to be minimal, the modelled predictions suggest that the river crossings may experience a minor reduction in the number of high-flow days each year (i.e. potential flood events that may cut road access), particularly for model results at the 95th percentile.
Table 49 Modelled surface water changes to annual flow, high-flow days and zero-flow days at nodes proximal to river crossings of the Old Bowen Downs Road, within the zone of potential hydrological change for the Galilee subregion
Data: Bioregional Assessment Programme (Dataset 3)
188.8.131.52 Cape River Indigenous asset
The inclusion of the Cape River Indigenous asset within the zone of potential hydrological change for the Galilee subregion is essentially an artefact of the GIS processing approach used in the impact and risk analysis database (Bioregional Assessment Programme, Dataset 3). This is because only 1.4 km of the Cape River occurs within the zone extent, at the most downstream part of the Cape River where it joins the Suttor River. Hence, this asset is only included in the zone as it occurs with an assessment unit associated with the Suttor River just above the junction with Lake Dalrymple. Independently, the surface water modelling undertaken for this BA included several specific modelling nodes on the Cape River (Section 3.3.3), and all of these confirmed that the additional coal resource development is very unlikely to impact the Cape River.
Product Finalisation date
- 3.1 Overview
- 3.2 Methods
- 3.3 Potential hydrological changes
- 3.4 Impacts on and risks to landscape classes
- 3.4.1 Overview
- 3.4.2 Landscape classes that are unlikely to be impacted
- 3.4.3 'Springs' landscape group
- 3.4.4 'Streams, GDE' landscape group
- 3.4.5 'Streams, non-GDE' landscape group
- 3.4.6 'Floodplain, terrestrial GDE' landscape group
- 3.4.7 'Non-floodplain, terrestrial GDE' landscape group
- 3.5 Impacts on and risks to water-dependent assets
- 3.6 Commentary for coal resource developments that are not modelled
- 3.7 Conclusion
- Contributors to the Technical Programme
- About this technical product