ROLLBACKS IN ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTIONS & COMMUNITY RIGHTS
In the last few years, we’ve seen the following assaults on Queensland’s environmental laws:
- Environmental impact assessment laws changed to allow major development projects to undergo a weaker, shorter and less transparent impact assessment process.
- Removal of the concept of Ecologically Sustainable Development (ESD) from legislation protecting water resources and various environment and planning legislation.
- Amendments to the Vegetation Management Act, allowing clearing in some riparian areas and for undefined ‘high value agriculture’.
- The repeal of the Wild Rivers Act, leaving rivers exposed to mining, irrigation and other threats.
- Unenforceable Great Barrier Reef protection policies such as the draft Reef 2050 Plan which represents a ‘business as usual’ approach to the Reef.
- Winding back of climate change policies with the systematic removal of all references to climate change and sea level rise from statutory planning instruments and maps.
- Special legislation created for political donors to allow Sibelco to mine on North Stradbroke Island and to allow Karreman Quarries to avoid prosecution for environmental breaches.
- Privileged access given to water for mining companies, including unlimited access to groundwater.
- Removal of public rights to challenge major mining developments, allowing coal mines to be approved with minimal public and judicial oversight.
- Reduction in community appeal rights and consultation periods relating to the Water Act, Regional Planning Act, and proposed Planning Development Act.
- Introduction of discretionary costs rules in the P&E Court which make it harder for community litigants to access justice.
- Withdrawal of funding to EDO Qld.
- Proposed handover of national environmental laws to Queensland which would see Queensland and the Coordinator General approve damaging impacts on national environmental issues – like the Great Barrier Reef – using Queensland’s severely weakened environmental laws (as per above).
Source: Environmental Defender’s Office (Queensland) – 23 January 2015
For further information please contact:
Narelle McCarthy, SCEC Spokesperson: 0424 465 487
Mr Wiebe ter Bals, SCEC Executive Officer: 0420 370 948