Brisbane Region Environment Council

12th March 1997

Soorley "Backyard to Bay" pledges receives cautious approval

The Brisbane Region Environment Centre(BREC) has greeted the "Backyard to the Bay" statements by Lord Mayor Jim Soorley with cautious approval.

"The current administration has made great strides in protecting Brisbane's environment. This current round of pledges will go some of the way to addressing the council's remaining deficiencies. It shows that with a committed council, a well staffed environment branch, good public involvement and support councils can do a great deal to save the environment." said Michael Petter convenor of BREC.

Sounding a note of caution he went on to say " That while the current administration is a regional leader on 'brown' and 'green' issues it still could do more to safeguard Brisbane's environment, the job is definitely not over".

"Despite efforts by the Soorley administration, bushland destruction was still a big issue in parts of Brisbane and the recent promises went only part of the way to fix this serious problem. There is still over 1500ha of bushland under threat in future urban areas and its being cleared at about one football field a day. The priority for the bushland levy is still the acquisition of lands" Mr Petter said

"The day to day management of bushland assets is now a big part of the councils responsibilities and we believe that the Council needs conservation officers to handle the distinct management needs of conservation reserves. Perhaps they could reorganise the Parks and Gardens Branch into a Conservation and Parks Branch to compliment the good planning work of the Environment Branch" he added

On some of the 'brown' issues Mr Petter said "The pledges to upgrade the sewerage treatment works are welcomed and will produce tangible environmental benefits if implemented. We still need for the council to develop a strategy to contain the impacts of sewer overflows. The reduction of sediment flows into local creeks is a very high priority for us and we are calling for sediment controls to be included in development conditions. We also want to see more effort put into improving the environmental impact assessment of developments."

The Soorley administration, if re-elected needs to continue to refine, broaden and deepen environment reforms within the council. It will also face the challenge of maintaining social and environmental reforms in the face of impacts from the National Competition Policy" he concluded