brec logo


MEDIA RELEASE

13 September 2005


Queensland needs more action, less rhetoric
on Reef erosion protection

Conservationists called for Government and industry to follow rhetoric with action on erosion control after they saw clear evidence of the ongoing damage by sediment to the Great Barrier Reef and other waterways presented at the recent Environmental Protection Agency "Down To Earth" Conference at Cairns.

"We call on the Queensland government to show leadership and commit more resources to eliminate erosion that is damaging the Reef. Marine parks, coastal areas, estuaries and inland waterways are all at risk of sedimentation and poisoning due to erosion," said John Rainbird Coordinator of Cairns and Far North Environment Centre (CAFNEC).

"Disturbed soils from our steep slopes, waterways and floodplains are showing up on the Reef, where our corals are dying and our fish and other wildlife are losing their food sources. We need action and we need it now," he said.

"All levels of government, industries and community have a role to play," said Michael Petter, Coordinator of the Brisbane Region Environment Council. "We’re pleased to see the Queensland Environmental Protection Agency is finally trying to take a more active lead role in this matter."

Conference speakers showed the clear link between poor water quality and reef damage, and the extent of damage being caused by high sediment loads in runoff from inappropriate, ill-considered and poorly managed developments and projects. Engineers and researchers said that we have the technology to deal with the risks, but warned that we lack legislation or other tools to prevent harm in the first place.

"There were a lot of engineering and enforcement solutions proposed at the conference," said Sheila Davis, Gecko - Gold Coast & Hinterland Environment Council delegate. "But when it comes down to it, we cannot afford any more losses of soil or burying of our marine and freshwater ecosystems."

"Our coastal waters and estuaries are under threat where we allow inappropriately sited infrastructure and poorly regulated and planned urban development," said Patricia Julien, Coordinator of the Mackay Conservation Group. "Inadequately maintained mining projects and inefficient agricultural practices add to the erosion mix."

"A lot of energy is wasted trying to stop erosion and to control sediment, when it needs to be prevented in the first place," said Mr Rainbird. "State and local governments must make a concerted, coordinated effort to stop destruction of the Reef and other marine and freshwater environments."

Conservationists have developed a 9 Point Erosion Elimination Plan (see next page).

"We want the State Government to establish a working group, with industry environment & local government involvement, to fast-track the changes to policy, enforcement and legislation," concluded Mr Rainbird.


For more information:
Michael Petter, Coordinator, Brisbane Region Environment Council (BREC) — (07) 3901-5577
Sheila Davis, Campaign Coordinator, Gecko — Gold Coast & Hinterland Environment Council — 0423-305-478
Patricia Julien, Coordinator, Mackay Conservation Group (MCG) — (07) 4953-0808
John Rainbird, Coordinator, Cairns & Far North Environment Centre (CAFNEC) — (07) 4032-1746

Cairns and Far North Environment Centre Inc., PO Box 323N, Cairns, Qld. 4870
T: (07) 403 21746 F: (07) 405 33779 E:
coord@cafnec.org.au , www.cafnec.org.au


 

brec logo

13 September 2005


 

Conservationists 9 Point Erosion Elimination Plan

Due to the devastating effect of erosion and the subsequent siltation on the Great Barrier Reef and other coastal and inland waterways, conservationists call upon all levels of government to immediately begin:

  1. updating policy and legislation to prevent erosion, e.g., alter the Environmental Protection Act to make Housing Development and Construction Environmentally Relevant Activities;
  2. empowering, resourcing and requiring local government and state agencies to increase monitoring and enforcement efforts;
  3. substantially increasing fines and penalties for breaches;
  4. tightening regulations so developers are made responsible for erosion control;
  5. requiring the use of modern erosion control technologies on all sites, e.g., staging of clearing and development so as to minimise erosion;
  6. prohibiting construction in high risk and sensitive areas and during high rainfall periods;
  7. establishing enforceable targets and timelines for erosion reduction, e.g., Schedules of the Water Environmental Protection Policy should set enforceable targets for the elimination of accelerated erosion from the development industry by 2010, and the elimination of accelerated erosion from agriculture by 2020that is a 30% reduction from the current levels every 5 years.
  8. requiring competency certification in erosion control for planners and on-ground operators, e.g., machinery operators and contractors; and,
  9. identifying and mapping high erosion risk areas and to adequately fund erosion elimination measures, including rehabilitation and revegetation where necessary.

For more information:
Michael Petter, Coordinator, Brisbane Region Environment Council (BREC) — (07) 3901-5577
Sheila Davis, Campaign Coordinator, Gecko — Gold Coast & Hinterland Environment Council — 0423-305-478
Patricia Julien, Coordinator, Mackay Conservation Group (MCG) — (07) 4953-0808
John Rainbird, Coordinator, Cairns & Far North Environment Centre (CAFNEC) - (07) 4032-1746

 

Cairns and Far North Environment Centre Inc. PO Box 323N, Cairns, Qld. 4870
T: (07) 403 21746 F: (07) 405 33779 E:
coord@cafnec.org.au www.cafnec.org.au



Back to Whats New Back to News Back to BREC Contents Back to BREC Site Index