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Queensland ignores warnings of wildlife losses

JOINT MEDIA RELEASE

21 May 2004

for International Day of Biological Diversity 22 May

Brisbane Region Environment Council (BREC)

Toowoomba Region Environment Council (TREC)

Sunshine Coast Environment Council (SCEC)

Gecko - Gold Coast & Hinterland Environment Council


Queensland ignores warnings of wildlife losses

Queensland has ignored the warnings from both its own scientists and conservationists about the need to protect its wildlife from further extinctions say South East Queensland regional conservation groups.

"On International Biodiversity Day on 22nd May, we have little to celebrate in South East Queensland," said Michael Petter, Coordinator of the Brisbane Region Environment Council (BREC).

"Changes to the Vegetation Management Act and the codes for clearing under the SEQ Regional Vegetation Management Plan being adopted in Parliament this week are too weak to protect plant and animal species and their habitat, and will result in great losses."

"Ecologist Professor Hugh Possingham has said that from an international perspective, one could mount a very strong case that all remnant vegetation in SEQ is of high nature conservation value, yet so little is protected under this Act," said Mr Petter.

"The exemptions on urban land and for State projects, and loose regulations on quarrying and thinning of forests are unacceptable. These reductions and exemptions jeopardise important conservation areas, cultural heritage landscapes, corridors, interurban breaks and significant bushland regrowth," said Ted Fensom, a regional planner for environment groups.

"We know that extinctions rise even when the clearing leaves 80% of the original of bushland, and the number of extinctions again significantly increases at 50%, yet this government is blindly heading for 30%, even lower in some places and for some whole ecosystems in South East Queensland," said Sarah Moles of the Toowoomba Region Environment Council.

"The environment sector put in a report disagreeing with the Draft SEQ Regional Vegetation Management Plan, pointing out the importance of saving biodiversity in our region, but it has virtually been ignored in the new codes," said Sheila Davis, Campaign Coordinator for Gecko. "With almost the whole coastal strip bought out by developers, and the continuing spread of housing and tourism into the hinterlands, we foresee thousands of hectares of clearing ahead and further wildlife loss."

"The new SEQ Office of Urban Management must undertake to provide additional protection of nature conservation areas, particularly remnant native vegetation, but also significant regrowth," said Lindsay Holt, Campaigner for the Sunshine Coast Environment Council. "Exemptions for urban development and state projects must be removed. The State needs to revisit the draft codes and provide the highest levels of protection to SEQ’s remarkable native vegetation."

 

For more information: Sheila Davis — Gecko (07) 5534-1412 or 0413-122-679

Michael Petter - BREC (07) 3901-5577

Sarah Moles — TREC (07) 4632-1505 or 0427-753-947

Lindsay Holt - SCEC (07) 5441-5747 or 0409-781-811


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