Friday 27 June 2008

QLD environment in decline

The Queensland Labor Government celebrated ten years in power on the 13th of June 2008.
A report released today by the Wilderness Society, WWF and Queensland Conservation shows that Queensland’s environment is in a state of decline after ten years of Labor in power.

This is an assessment of the last ten years of Queensland Government's performance on the environment. Not surprisingly, it's not a ringing endorsement.

Locally, False Cape gets a notorious mention, however, the Daintree buy-back, gets the thumbs up. Coastal development gets a resounding thumbs down. This report will be reviewed on ABC's Stateline tonight.

Steve Ryan from CAFNEC says that FNQ2025 may have some improvements, but the 18 months advance warning the State government gave the property development sector, has reportedly resulted in 15 years worth of applications being received before the May 9 cut-off date.

"That's decades more of fights over inappropriate development that will may well make a mockery of any gains made in the plan," Ryan says.

"This 'game' of appeasing developers to ensure a smoother passage of much needed reform may be smart politics, but it is extremely poor public policy and has resulted in the mess outlined by this report."

Ryan tells locals around our region that it's just not been good enough. "There's much more to do, and there's a few vested interests that may need to be upset. But remember, there's a community that will support you if real and substantial gains are made."

Conservation groups are seeking a strong commitment from Queensland Premier Anna Bligh to usher in a new era of environmentally responsible policy to build on some of the successes and address the major deficiencies in areas such as climate change, biodiversity protection and water management.

Paradise Lost? A review of Queensland Labor Government environmental policies 1998 – 2008 rates the Government’s performance in the areas of climate, water and biodiversity.

It uses the State of the Environment Queensland 1999 and 2007 reports to track the impact of Queensland Government policies in protecting the environment.

Glenn Walker, of the Wilderness Society says that Queensland is defined by our superlative natural environment.

"Despite some notable reforms in their earlier years, the Labor Government’s performance on environmental protection has deteriorated significantly in recent times," he says. "They have been unable to keep up with public concern about climate change, water issues and biodiversity. It’s time for a major rethink and a new approach on the environment.”

Of the total twenty two policy areas assessed in the report, only two are considered to be an overwhelming policy success, nine policy areas indicate some progress has been made and a further eleven are assessed as policy failures. A timeline of ‘successes’ and ‘failures’ in the report shows a reasonable first five to six years of a reform-driven Government, with significant failures since 2005.

Climate change is the most significant threat facing the planet today. Queensland’s per capita greenhouse gas emissions are among the highest in the world. Yet the Government is failing to act accordingly, with a lack of meaningful support for renewable energies and public transport.

Despite some progress with wild river protection and water reform, Queensland’s water assets are under serious threat. Dam building is out of control in this state with thirteen major water infrastructure projects on the cards. Most of the rivers flowing into the Great Barrier Reef breach water quality guidelines, they say.

Biodiversity is in sharp decline in Queensland. We have the lowest proportion of land area and threatened species habitats protected of all the states and territories in Australia. There is no statewide strategy to protect biodiversity.

Queensland has a new generation of environmental problems to tackle and the community is ready to see action. Premier Bligh and her new team need to seize this opportunity before it is too late. They need to step up to the plate and create a fresh environmental platform that will effectively deal with the great environmental challenges that we now face.

The report can be viewed online.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Labor Minister for Tourism, Regional Development, the Environment, Local Development, Local Government and Planning, and the Member for Cairns, The Hon Desley Boyle MP. has been involved in and presided over the decline of our environment since 1988. Desley does not believe in Heritage, or Conservation. She is proud of the way Cairns has developed its High Rise concreted totems and replaced those “old buildings and tin sheds”. I wanted my grandchildren to see remnants of our History. Desley, apparently, doesn't want her grandchildren to see the past. May be the Cairns Yacht Club will invite her to open their new $7 Million Dollar Yacht Club in due course. Not.