23 October 2020
MEDIA RELEASE: FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
ENVIRONMENT AGENDA FOR NEXT QUEENSLAND GOVERNMENT
The Sunshine Coast Environment Council, (SCEC), the peak environmental advocacy organisation for the region for the past forty years, has today endorsed a comprehensive set of actions the next State Government should use to protect Queensland’s unique natural heritage and act on climate change.
The Environment Agenda for the next Queensland Government considers ten major environmental issue areas facing Queensland and proposes solutions for action. The Agenda includes solutions for native vegetation, biodiversity, climate change, rivers, and mining, pollution and sustainable cities and towns.
“The Sunshine Coast and Noosa regions boast some of Australia’s most spectacular natural assets and biodiversity. However we face enormous pressure from climate change, exponential population growth, and the increasing cumulative impacts from rapid and inappropriate development causing habitat loss and diminishing green space and amenity.” SCEC spokesperson Narelle McCarthy said.
This environment agenda provides a clear and positive pathway to restore and protect the environment, support climate resilience and the legislative reform needed to reign in alarming biodiversity decline and unsustainable development.
“As it celebrates its 40th anniversary this year, SCEC continues to call for better planning and environment protection laws, stronger efforts to conserve threatened species and habitats, increased uptake of renewable sources of energy and water conservation underpinned by greater recognition of the region’s First Nations People as the original custodians and exponents of ecological sustainability” explained Ms. McCarthy.
SCEC has identified priorities for the Sunshine Coast region over the next four years;
- Increased commitment to preserve native vegetation, create and expand wildlife corridors and protect vital land and sea habitat
- Greater effort and strategic investment to protect the floodplains and restore coastal ecosystems, wetlands and waterways
- A green economic recovery which restores the environment and creates green jobs in renewable energy, land restoration and conservation delivering economic, social, environmental and climate benefits
- Coordinated and urgent actions to address climate change impacts including science-based targets to cut climate pollution to avoid 1.5 degrees global warming and net zero emissions well before 2050
In addition to the Queensland Environment Agenda, SCEC is seeking the following regional commitments;
Statutory protection to preserve and maintain the regional inter-urban break
- This includes the removal of ‘Halls Creek’ from the SEQ Regional Plan (SEQRP)
- No expansion of the Urban Footprint in the next SEQRP
- No new Priority Development Areas (PDAs)
- Planning reforms to protect habitat and wildlife corridors within the urban footprint and ensure the obligations for ecologically sustainable development are demonstrated
- The Sunshine Coast has been ranked 4th out of 99 localities in Australia (with a population over 10,000 people) in a recent report for the greatest extent of habitat loss for federally listed threatened species
- The endorsement of the region’s submission to UNESCO for Biosphere designation
- Further investment to continue the roll out of the $500m Land Restoration Fund which helps restore threatened species habitat and supports carbon farming projects, such as Australia’s leading blue carbon project ‘The Blue Heart’ in the Maroochy River floodplain
- Expansion of Protected Areas and increased funding for management and acquisition
- For Queensland to not enter into devolution arrangements with the Commonwealth under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (Cth);
- Stronger national environment laws are needed, not weakened protections
- Implement non-lethal shark control measures including removing shark nets during humpback whale migration season
- Expedite the ban on single-use plastics and expand the ban to cover the full suite of single-use plastic products whilst implementing mandatory product stewardship schemes
- No funding cuts to the Environmental Defenders Office.
Over the past four decades, SCEC and many other organisations and individuals have campaigned for the protection of the region’s magnificent environment with each decade presenting its challenges, threats and opportunities. This rich conservation legacy includes much of the valued scenic and natural amenity the region is known for in the form of National Parks and coastal areas that would otherwise have been lost to rampant and short-sighted development
“Growing and complex pressures make this a pivotal election. It is a critical time where the future of the region’s environment, communities and liveability will be tested. The next state government must address these challenges and embrace these opportunities for a sustainable future.” Ms McCarthy concluded
The Environment Agenda for the next Queensland Government can be viewed at https://www.queenslandconservation.org.au/environment_agenda
Contact: Narelle McCarthy - SCEC Liaison & Advocacy
Mobile: 0424 465 487