01 August 2023
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
‘AURA SOUTH’ THE WRONG DIRECTION FOR THE REGION - SCEC
The Sunshine Coast Environment Council (SCEC) continues its’ long held opposition to urban development of Halls Creek in the sensitive Pumicestone Passage catchment and within the irreplaceable Regional Inter-Urban Break (RIUB).
This follows the pre-emptive and highly questionable move by Stockland to refer its so-called ‘Aura South’ project for assessment under the Federal environment legislation, the Environment Protection Biodiversity and Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC) Act
Narelle McCarthy, Sunshine Coast Environment Council comment …
“From the time of the Caloundra City Council through to the current Sunshine Coast Council and with unwavering support of the local community, the Halls Creek area has always been explicitly excluded from urban development as it forms a crucial inter-urban break along the region’s eastern coastal zone.
Protecting this area was the trade-off for Caloundra South planning to go ahead. This sensitive catchment was, and still is, intended to be the buffer and rehabilitation area that would aid in protecting the extraordinary environmental and recreational fishery values of the internationally listed Pumicestone Passage.
Stockland conveniently doesn't recognise nor accept the widely supported full extent of the regional inter-urban break and cites conceptual boundaries to downplay the intensity of its contentious and speculative plans.
“Our region’s irreplaceable Regional Inter-Urban Break is a significant green belt from the Nationally Heritage Listed Glass House Mountains to the internationally important Pumicestone Passage Ramsar Wetland. Avoiding the creation of new urban development areas, such as ‘Aura South,’ in our limited but diverse major regional green spaces like the regional inter-urban break, is essential to ensure these important spaces are not reduced over time, contribute to climate resilience and provide expansive areas for appropriate recreation. These significant environments support biodiversity and provide important landscape connectivity and wildlife corridors.
Caloundra South is already on its way to being a city the size of Gladstone with considerable land and dwelling supply already in the pipeline. The impacts of a fully-developed ‘Aura’ on the sensitive Pumicestone Passage over time are yet to be fully known or understood, let alone introducing further pressures from more urbanisation even closer to this fragile system.
Importantly, the regional inter-urban break, of which an undeveloped Halls Creek is a critical part, is the green frame for our region’s identity and liveability and warrants statutory protection - not urban sprawl.
Key facts and benefits:
Total of 63,000 hectares located across the Sunshine Coast and Moreton Bay local government areas (LGA)
32,034 hectares located within the Sunshine Coast LGA
Contains nationally significant landscape of the Glass House Mountains and RAMSAR-listed Pumicestone Passage
Contains protected areas such as National Parks, Conservation Parks and environment reserves
Provides habitat and bioregional corridors for native fauna and flora
Supports diverse ecosystems while generating vital ecosystem services
Provides much needed 'green relief' from the built environment
Includes productive farmlands and rural townships
Includes State Forests mostly managed for timber production (native and exotic)
Includes significant cultural heritage places and landscapes important to our First Nation Peoples
Provides opportunities for local agricultural production and forestry, increasing food security and local employment
Offers unique tourism opportunities to contribute to the region’s natural attractions
M: 0424 465 487