Brisbane Region Environment Council

18th of February 1996


A forum of delegates, representing some 220 Southeast Queensland environmental groups and progress associations( having some 250,000 members ), stretching from the Sunshine Coast through Toowoomba and Ipswich to the Gold Coast and encompassing Brisbane and Redlands, was held at Griffith University on Sunday the 18th of February 1996.

This forum expressed grave concerns about the rapidity and scale of human impacts on Southeast Queensland over the past decade. This area is one of the most bio-diverse in Australia and contains extensive and varied range of habitats and species, both flora and fauna, which are rare or endangered.

The forum called for at least $1m per year to be spent on supporting and resourcing the community to deal with this problem.

There was severe doubts that the region was capable of sustaining the incoming population levels whilst honouring human moral and legal obligations for the maintenance of the biosphere, sustaining species diversity and even protecting the cleanliness of our own air, water and soil, upon which depend our social fabric and the viability of our livelihoods in SEQ.

The forum considered that the basic failure of current planning policies is evident from the rate of vegetation loss and species extinction, the poisoning and destruction of fish habitat, the ruthless expansion of roads, ballooning energy consumption, proliferation of noxious and degrading industries and the pollution of air, rivers and bay.

The forum called for a change in attitudes to preserve vegetation and habitats.

The forum considered it evident that the last State government was mauled because it did not listen to the people, and that public consultation and participation in decision making was now universally recognised as being an indispensable part of the democratic process.

The forum called upon all governments to recognise the enormous burden in time and money imposed upon community groups who participate in these processes. The forum held that is essential that there be adequate public resourcing of local and regional grassroots groups if the community is to be fully advised and if effective planning is to result.

Whilst not derogating from the current grant systems for assisting community groups, the forum called for an immediate commitment, by all political parties, for funding in the sum of at least $1m per annum for subregional environment centres at Pine Rivers, Brisbane, Ipswich, Albert Growth Corridor and Redlands. This funding would be also applied to upgrading existing environment centres at Sunshine Coast, Gold Coast and Toowoomba, setting up a network of catchment centres and providing grants to a large number of grassroots environment groups for local monitoring and co-ordination

The text of the Forum Statement follows
"The forum representing over 220 local environment groups endorses the following statement and call on all governments to take heed and act to save South East Queensland"

 The forum calls for

1. The following to be used as some of the indicators of the success or failure of current policies and planning.:

 2. Substantial funding and resourcing of community groups to:

- Work on/with committees with Authorities and Agencies at the SEQ, Regional, Subregional and local level,

- Adequately inform and involve the whole of the community to address the issues and possible outcomes.

 3. At least $1m a year to fund:

- Upgrading of Regional Environment Centres at Sunshine Coast, Gold Coast and Toowoomba,

- A network of Catchment Centres,

- Additional funding of grassroots groups for local assessment, monitoring and coordination."