South East Queensland Regional EnvironmentCoordination Network
Joint Media Release
7 September 2004
Threatened Species Day
Regional environment still at risk
under proposed SEQ Regional Plan
Regional environment councils today urged the SEQ Office of Urban Management (OUM) and the State Government to take a more comprehensive approach to protecting the regions nature conservation values, threatened speciesand ecological processes.
The State Government has tabled the Integrated Planning and Other Legislation Bill 2004(IPOLA) in Parliament to give legislative backing to the new regional plan. This Bill gives the responsible Minister expansive discretionary powers over local government planning.
The government is planning to have the main consultation period for the new regional plan over the Christmas and New Year period. The government has marginalised non-government groups and traditional owners in the OUM process and in the Bill removed them from the SEQ Regional Coordination Committee.
"From what we understand of the draft IPOLA Bill and new regional plan is that they will not bind State Government departments to the same standards as local councils," said Michael Petter, Coordinator of the SEQ Regional Environment Coordination Network (SEQRECN).
"With this sort of piecemeal planning the new plan will fail to resolve major conflicts between housing industry, extractive industry, roads and natural assets. Fundamentally this is still a plan to cram in another million people whether we can sustain them or not. The plan won't correct past planning mistakes or address fundamental sustainability issues."
"For instance, to support the projected growth the State Government is still pushing ahead to "lock in" required sand mines in Moreton Bay, Bribie Island, Stradbroke Island and the Mooloolah River," said Mr Petter "The regional plan doesn't give any more protection to these areas or resolve the environmental impacts of sand and water extraction in these important natural areas."
"Another example is that the State Government and Redlands Council are still convinced that pumping the water out of Stradbroke Island to meet the needs of evermore people is sustainable," said Mr Petter. "However, separate studies done by DNR in 2001 and Southern Cross University in 2002 have demonstrated that water pumping is already irreversibly affecting vegetation and impacting on water tables on the island."
"SEQ needs better quality development instead of this obsession with just the quantity of development. We must change the scale and style of development in SEQ to reduce environmental impacts and improve our quality of life," said Scott Alderson of the Sunshine Coast Environment Council.
"We must do something to control the amount of housing development through reducing land available for development, charging the full infrastructure costs and making people in other states aware of the problems this population growth is causing in SEQ," said Gecko representative Sheila Davis.
SEQRECN is urging people to contact the Premier and Ministers to ask for better management and greater protection of the environment and that Cabinet, not just one Minister, has a say in the fate of the SEQ region.
For more information: Michael Petter, Coordinator, BREC 3901- 5577
Scott Alderson, SCEC 5441-5747, 0407-290-029
Sheila Davis, Gecko 5534-1412, 0431-742-954
Sarah Moles, TREC 4632-1505
South East Queensland Regional Environment Coordination Network
PO Box 479, Morningside Qld 4170 Ph: (07) 3901-5577; Fax: (07) 3899-1953