State and Federal Governments failing
to protect urban bushlands
State and Federal Governments are failing to take action to protect nature conservation values, threatened species and ecological processes in South East Queensland, say the Regions environment councils, who are calling for election commitments to reduce the impacts of urban growth.
"Neither major party has made election commitments to protect urban bushland or to rein in rampant development of coastal areas," said Michael Petter, Coordinator of the SEQ Regional Environment Coordination Network (SEQRECN).
"Recent studies done in the USA and Australia have demonstrated that in and around urban areas there are very high conservation values that are worth protecting.
"Both parties are ignoring the massive environmental damage caused to natural areas and the marine environment by urban development, not just here in SEQ, but along the whole length of the east coast."
"Both major parties have failed to articulate how traditional owners will have a role in protecting their traditional estates and cultural resources in these fast developing areas," said Shane Coghill, Indigenous Coordinator for SEQRECN. At a recent meeting with Traditional Owner Knowledge Holders they also highlighted that the State government was in fact using Federal legislation to extinguish their rights and access to their cultural resources.
At the State level, the government is clearly failing to implement the SEQ Nature Conservation Strategy and is providing very little protection for urban bushland in its new Office of Urban Management (OUM) regional plan.
While the new plan is taking steps to protect some open space, it will still lock in 20 more years of urban bushland clearing by failing to wind back bad planning decisions made in the past about bushland areas.
"Vital nature conservation areas such as the Noosa-Maroochy Wallum Corridor on the Sunshine Coast and the areas adjacent to Pumicestone passage are still under threat and no government wants to do anything to protect them," said Scott Alderson, Campaigner for the Sunshine Coast Environment Council.
"On the Gold Coast our remaining floodplains and bushlands in Coomera and other lowland areas are under imminent threat and the governments are failing to tackle the number one cause - clearing for urban development," said Sheila Davis, Campaigner for Gecko - Gold Coast and Hinterland Environment Council.
We are calling on the Federal parties to make a clear commitment to protect nature conservation values in high growth areas. We are looking for a major commitment to an integrated urban package so these areas can get some protection and funding to address critical areas outside of the rurally biased NHT programs.
We are calling on the State Government to honour commitments made to the environment sector and traditional owners in the SEQ Nature Conservation Strategy.
Finally, we are urging voters to ask their federal candidates hard questions about what they are doing to control inappropriate urban growth and protecting urban bushlands.
For more information: Michael Petter, Coordinator, BREC - 3901-5577
Shane Coghill, Indigenous Coordinator, SEQRECN - 3901-5577
Scott Alderson, SCEC - 5441-5747, 0407-290-029
Sheila Davis, Gecko - 5534-1412, 0431-742-954
Sarah Moles, TREC
South East Queensland Regional Environment Coordination Network
PO Box 479, Morningside Qld 4170 Ph: (07) 3901-5577; Fax: (07) 3899-1953