Moreton Bay Regional Council does not have a Biosecurity Plan that includes an achievable management objective to manage the broad-leaved pepper tree (BPT).

This introduced weed is listed by Biosecurity Qld as an invasive plant causing negative impact on Queensland’s economy, environment, social amenity and health.

Advice from the office of the State Minister for Agricultural Industry Development and Fisheries confirms that MBRC has no plan to manage this weed even though the Biosecurity Act 2014 gives Local Government power to do so.

It is an offence to distribute, supply or release the broad-leaved pepper tree. Moreton Bay Regional Council is the ONLY Local Government in Queensland that describes the BPT as “Low Risk”.

Large stands of the BPT have been located along Beachmere Road and the Beachmere area, and north to the Toorbul foreshore including Bribie Island and the Pumicestone Passage.

The current Biosecurity Plan 2016-2020 is due for review and updating. Besides requesting that Council prepare and publicise its Biosecurity Plan, locals are calling for proactive and appropriate steps to be taken to raise the Risk Classification of this plant to Extreme.

This upgrade will give priority to early detection and ensure provision of consistent and co-ordinated management processes by adjacent Local Government Authorities and Main Roads to maximise effective outcomes.

Allocation of funds to support eradication and management should be given priority considering the enormous amounts of money other countries are spending after years of inaction.

BPT seeds are dispersed by birds and animals and MBRC and the State Government need to act quickly and effectively to combat the spread of this threat to biodiversity and habitat for animals, birds and marine life in our unique area.

Committee member of Bribie Island Environmental Protection Association (BIEPA), Mark Stanton-Cook, was critical of what he believes will quickly become a dire situation.

“I don’t think that MBRC are seriously addressing this problem. In north east NSW adjoining council areas Tweed, Byron, Lismore, Ballina, Kyogle and Richmond have mapped where the invasion is extremely high and all landholders, including Council must, by law, eradicate and keep the land free of this plant in these zones. MBRC has listed this plant as “Low Risk”.

BEIPA are following up with CSIRO and a possible biological control agent, but it is very clear that immediate action needs to be taken or this coastal area, including recreational and commercial fishing will be at risk. Foreshores, mangrove and fish nurseries are particularly susceptible to this invasive species,” Mark said.

Beachmere will be one of the few communities taking advantage of some collective festive spirit when Clayton Park hosts the Xmas Bazaar and Community Carols.

Organisers Beachmere Area Network Group (BANG) say the regular Carols event has been revamped and will focus on entertainment, craft and gift stalls and some big surprises.

Covid restricted regular practice sessions by the usual choir, so local singers will be leading the community in carols with local band, Boom Baby, providing additional entertainment.

Market stalls will sell a myriad of arts, crafts and gifts allowing locals the opportunity to shop local whilst supporting local artisans and suppliers who have had a “lean” year with a reduction in regular events.

Recently established community group, Beachmere Classic Vehicle Club, will join in with several of their member’s classic vehicles on display.

There are still vacancies for art, craft and gift stall holders and BANG would welcome any interest from singers wanting to lead a carol. Email for further information.

And if you just want to join in on the day, visit Clayton Park in Beachmere between 4pm and 7pm on Saturday, 5 December.

By Staff Writer Mozza

Bribie Island and surrounds are currently experiencing the annual jacaranda tree bloom along our familiar streets, in parks, private yards, around ovals and schools.

It is a popular urban myth that, years ago, hospitals gave jacaranda seedlings to new mothers. According to the legend they were encouraged to plant the seedling and watch it grow along with their child. Consequently hundreds of the trees bloom in Queensland at this time of the year.

The trouble is there are no records of hospitals giving away the plants. The popularity of the jacaranda, which is an introduced species from South America, owes more to enterprising horticulturalists than gratuities from medical institutions.

But a major part of the popularity of the plant comes from the way they burst into life at this time of the year, with sprays of purple and blue. The flowering of the jacaranda announces summer is coming. For university students it’s a sign the exam period is starting.

Native to Brazil and Argentina, jacaranda is the name of a genus of about 50 different species of trees with a range of flower colours. The name comes from the Native American Tupi word “yacarana” or “yacaranda” which the Portuguese spelled with a j.

Although there are species that have other colour flowers, the plant most people know is jacaranda mimosifolia — the blue jacaranda.

The Portuguese collected specimens in the 18th century and noted British collector Alan Cunningham, who would later become a government botanist, sent samples from South America to England in 1818. Other parts of the world also introduced the trees, notably South Africa, where the first were planted in the 1820s. They were so abundant in Pretoria it was later dubbed the Jacaranda City.

The first samples in Australia are believed to have arrived in the 1850s. The first to be successfully grown was planted by the superintendent of the Brisbane Botanic Gardens, Walter Hill, in the 1860s. In an 1870 report to the Queensland Legislative Council he said he was having some success growing them “on either side of the gravel path leading from the George St Entrance to the interacting gravel walk”.

Under The Jacaranda by Godfrey R. Rivers in 1903.

Perhaps the most famous of his plantings was captured by artist Godfrey Rivers in his 1903 painting Under The Jacaranda, which hangs in the Queensland Art Gallery. The iconic tree was blown down by a cyclone in 1980.

The popularity of the plant began to soar in Queensland and during the late 19th and early 20th century some councils gave away seedlings as part of beautification schemes. The average lifespan of a jacaranda tree is 50 years old. They can obviously grow a lot longer with some lasting well up to 200 years old. They reach maturity in about 20 years and are capable of re-growth if damaged from fresh falling seeds.

Brisbane students have long had a superstition that if you hadn’t started studying by the time the tree blooms you would fail the exams. A similar superstition is held by students, who say if a jacaranda flower falls on your head you will fail the exams, but the curse can be removed if you catch a flower in your right hand.

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