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South East Queensland Regional Environment Coordination Network

c/- BREC, PO Box 479, Morningside QLD 4170; Ph: (07) 3901 5577; Fax: (07) 3899 1953
Incorporating Brisbane Region Environment Council (BREC), BREC Traditional Owners Group,
Sunshine Coast Environment Council (SCEC), Gecko - Gold Coast and Hinterland Environment Council, Toowoomba Region Environment Council (TREC) and the Wildlife Preservation Society Qld (WPSQ)

Media Release

Wednesday 6 July 2005

So-called Smart State sells out South East Queensland

The SEQ Regional Plan, released by the Queensland government last week, has been examined by conservationists and found to be a resounding disappointment for the community and a threat to our high biodiversity region. 

"Despite the promise to protect open space and stop the sprawl associated with rapid population growth, the Treasurer and Deputy Premier, Terry Mackenroth, just delivered a Plan which does neither," said Michael Petter, Coordinator of the South East Queensland Regional Environment Coordinaton Network (SEQRECN).

SEQRECN says that the promise that areas would be protected and some things would be prohibited under this Plan has clearly been broken. The conservation groups are calling upon the Premier to put a moratorium on development until scientific studies are done and there is more consultation with key stakeholders to adequately consider the issues and the impacts of growth in the region.

"Many of the changes made to the Draft Plan are for the worse. The Urban Footprints and Investigation Areas have been substantially expanded on the Coast," said Lindsay Holt of the Sunshine Coast Environment Council. "And the extraordinary withdrawal of the minimun15 dwellings per hectare requirement for Greenfield sites will mean continuation of low density urban sprawl, and then the developers will be clamouring for more land when the Plan is next reviewed."

"Developers and large landholders are the big winners in the continued urban sprawl, at the expense of more recreational areas and our native wildlife," said Mr Petter. "You have to wonder to which ‘community’ this government has been listening. It certainly hasn’t listened to the thousands of people who wrote in begging for more open space and protection of our natural areas in this most high biodiversity region."

"The so-called Smart State has failed to provide additional protection for environmental values through the SEQ Plan," said Sheila Davis of Gecko — Gold Coast & Hinterland Environment Council. "Community groups now have to try to convince each of the 18 Councils in SEQ to lift the bar on inappropriate development. That’s an incredibly tall order for regional groups and smaller local groups."

"Large landholders, developers and their like-minded Councillors will now certainly be amending their planning schemes to continue the destruction," said Mr Petter. "Development-minded councils will be allowed under this Plan to make their planning schemes even more sprawling than ever, with the community’s play areas and wildlife habitat constantly at risk of being eroded."

For further information about this important issue:

Michael Petter, Coordinator — SEQRECN and BREC - 3901 5577

Sheila Davis, Campaigns Coordinator — Gecko — 5530-6600 or 0411-278-834

Lindsay Holt, Campaigner — SCEC — 0407-290-029

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