BREC Comments on Qld ANZECC Vegetation Framework WorkplanAugust 2, 2000
Overall the workplan specifies inadequate responses and timeframes to meet its objectives. Public involvement measures are either non existent or poorly specified. Indigenous involvement and Native Title issues are not specifically addressed. The failure to protect "Of Concern" ecosystems make it impossible for the State to achieve sustainable Vegetation Management. The workplan is silent about specific measures regarding salinity and other forms of land degradation associated with vegetation loss. The workplan is also silent on fire and stock management issues.
Some of the success measures are inimical to sustainability and should be modified or deleted. Some success measures not included in this workplan are
Increases in native Vegetation
Minimisation of threatening processes
Protection of ecological process required to maintain vegetation
Measures to assess maintenance of "broad nature conservation values"
Roles and Responsibilities
The vegetation management guidelines will not be consistently applied across all tenures. There are differences in management on leasehold, freehold and aboriginal tenures, here are difference between rural and urban locations.
State Government Role
Statewide cross tenure arrangements are not in place by July 2000. Some local Authorities are yet to be consulted. Negotiation with indigenous interests have yet to be commenced and should be initiated.
Local Government Role
There has been no public consultation on planning guidelines about State interests in veg management. There is no local government package to assist with local laws, desired environmental outcomes(DEOs), mapping, assessment and local incentive schemes.
Planning and Assessment
No copy of the application procedures, policies or codes has been made available to the public or some local authorities. There has been no public consultation on developing comprehensive state interest guidelines above and beyond the VMA eg wetlands etc
We require the State to achieve 1:25,000 mapping resolution in area with >10,000 ha per annum clearing rates. There needs to be quarterly high resolution air photography done for the SEQ, desert uplands, brigalow and mulga lands. The State should collate local and regional vegetation mapping and inventories. Finalising Statewide mapping at large scale by 2004 is patently inadequate and ineffectual given that the RVMPs have to be finished by 2002 and IPA planning schemes by 2003. Local government will require funding for fine scale vegetation mapping in high development areas.
Mapping and appropriate management of vegetation in stock routes is urgently required.
Threatened Species/Ecological Communities
This section makes no actual mention of ecological communities. Should refer to Federal endangered species leg. Should address amendments to State Nature Conservation Act to allow for the listing of endangered communities. We also require a Statewide fauna baseline survey. The State, local and Federal governments should establish a joint task force with public involvement to nominate endangered communities. The success measure "Number of species de-listed" is orwellian, we suggest it be deleted and replaced by "Numbers of species recovered" as a safer alternative
Regional groups have not been established to date and no guidelines or handbooks have been publicly released. The success measure "% of clearing consistent with RVMPs" is hilteresque "Yes ! Ve are on target for ze final solution to ze tree problem, mein heir !" we suggest that it be replaced by "% of clearing avoided or refused". Attached is our previous comments on this process. The government needs to urgently publish draft "model RVMP" guidelines.
The State appears to have allocated $2 Million less this year to community NRM. It has provided very little funds for the ongoing development and refinement of these strategies.
There has been a lack of public involvement in the process mentioned. The state Govt should involve Local government and NGO's in this process. The Situation Statement hasn't been released or even sighted. The other relevant plans including the RFGM should be consistent with the nature Conservation Strategy not the otherway round. The local governments and NGO's with State assistance have developed the core of this strategy the "SEQROC Common Nature Classification system" and should be acknowledged.
This section must acknowledge the key roles and responsibilities played by NGOs in this area. There should be active indigenous involvement in this process of recovery planning.
Protected Area Management
This process should only proceed with adequate indigenous, local government and community involvement. We are opposed to the commercialisation or corporatisation of protected areas. The government should develop a reserve linkage plan to establish an effective nature conservation network including management plans for buffer areas around parks and reserves.
See above. The government should amend pastoral lease conditions to create leasehold protected areas in conjunction with traditional owners and other interested parties. There needs to be an urgent assessment of reserve values in wetlands, riparian areas and stock routes
National Parks and Conservation Reserves
See above The success measures should include "ha declared as High Nature Conservation" and "Numbers of management plans for HCV lands"
Voluntary Conservation Agreements
This section should make mention of the State land trust and subsidies to local government for rate relief schemes. There should be State subsidies for rate relief schemes. The VCAs should be linked to regional and subregional conservation strategies.
Communication and capacity Building
The state should provide some core recurrent funding for community capacity such as catchment coordinators etc.
See above The documents listed in the timeframes have not been sighted nor has there been any community involvement in their drafting.
R&D and extension
Land For Wildlife
The State and local governments should investigate core funding for this project rather than relying on NHT funding
This section should include a commitment to biodiversity and "source water" protection payments, conservation leases and general levies for bushland and waterway protection at the State level. The state should review revenues from land rents and royalty payments.
See above The state should commit to establishing a QLD landcare trust to raise funds for financial and other incentives.
Build Up Plans and Regional Strategy
These build up plan have not resulted in less clearing and in the desert uplands they may have accelerated it.
Land Clearing Regulation
The success measure should be the minimisation of vegetation clearing and the protection of endangered, " of concern" ecosystems, high nature conservation areas and lands vulnerable to degradation. The VMA if proclaimed will still leave at least 55 Million ha of vegetation "at risk" of broadscale clearing. The VMA will be ineffective at halting vegetation clearing for urban development or in coastal areas at risk of land degradation. We need an urgent local government package to address these issues. The VMA was developed without the involvement of traditional owners. The State must establish the State and regional advisory committees required under the VMA. The ERA's for Land Clearing and Housing Development need to be proclaimed.
The State government also requires a policy not to sell off or otherwise harm state owned bushland.
The Nature Conservation should be amended to allow for the listing of plant communities at a state level. This section fails to address the protection of broad nature conservation or common species and their habitat integrity.
Protection from Pests and weeds
The state should commit to halt promotion or introduction of further weed( eg leucaena or buffel grass) species and DPI must be involved along with DNR and EPA.
Monitoring and Evaluation
We need fauna monitoring, baseline wetland and riparian surveys at local and regional levels and high resolution air photography. We need a process to detect and map thickening or thinning of vegetation.
Cover and Condition Monitoring
State of Environment Reporting
The government should try to do one in four years the last one took 6 years !!!
Defining Regional Ecosystems
There should be easier mechanisms and financial assistance to do this.
The workplan also fails to address sea level change, greenhouse issues, reef and costal impacts. It fails to detail any enforcement or compliance measures.