Queensland State Government passed the Vegetation Management Framework Amendment Act (2013) late last year. The aim of the Bill, as stated by Government, is to reduce red tape and regulatory burden on landowners, business and government. The Amendment Bill repealed critical regrowth regulations on freehold and indigenous lands, removed enforcement and compliance provisions, removed significant and historic multifactorial vegetation mapping and introduced self-assessable codes. While removing red tape and streamlining development processes, the Amendment Bill significantly weakens the protection of critical vegetation on watercourses and exposes hundreds of thousands of hectares of high value regrowth vegetation to broad-scale land clearing.
We remain concerned about the long term protection of this Australian icon and will continue our representations on behalf of the Sanctuary and the community. The Government is proposing to repeal an Act of Legislation, which relates to a Gift to the people of Queensland and we maintain that it is the right of Queenslanders to have a say in this action and consequently in the arrangements that are proposed to take its place. The operative word here is “trust”, considering the original purpose of the Gift and we believe that discussion to change the existing status of the Sanctuary should honour this trust and be conducted in an open and transparent manner.
Since the current Government came to power 2012 they have made substantial changes to the status of conservation under the Nature Conservation Act so that the conservation of nature is no longer the primary objective of the act; moved the National Parks portfolio from the Department of Environment to the current portfolio which has shifted the focus of national parks from conservation to exploitation for human benefit; put out tenders for allowing commercial activities in national parks; allowed other previously banned activities in national parks such as horse riding; trail bike riding and four wheel driving; undertaken a review of national parks with criteria that is strongly weighted to economic benefits rather than conservation.
In 2013 the VMFA Bill was passed with such major changes that the consequences will have far reaching economic, environmental and social negative impacts. At its time of its writing this Bill did not given sufficient consideration to the negative impacts and was only viewing it through a narrow prism of short term economic gain for one sector of society. Further the changes are not based on sound science, but rather an aspiration based on economic considerations only.
In 2005 Boral purchased 219ha of land in Tallebudgera Valley, which became KRA 96 in 2007 when the State Government identified areas of hard rock sand and gravel resources in South East Queensland. Between 2005 and 2010 Boral undertook a process of producing an Initial Advice Statement (IAS) seeking to have the current proposal assessed under the State Development Public Works Organization Act (SDPWO). There was no opportunity for public input into this process despite the major impact such a proposal will have on the community, particularly local residents. Boral was successful in their bid and in late 2010 informed the public of their intention to develop the resources of KRA 96 if permitted by the Coordinator General and the Federal Government under the designated controlled action of the Environment Protection Biodiversity Conservation Act.
Information about the Broadwater Marine Project, better known to the community as the cruise ship terminal proposal, has been moving fast this past week, following the pictorial representation of the Chinese company ASFs plans to develop every square centimetre of the Broadwater’s Wavebreak Island and The Spit.
A shipping terminal for the Gold Coast is a land grab by developers for prime waterfront land that belongs to us all. The cruise ship idea is a cover for seizing our public open space for the construction of casinos, hotels, condominiums, marinas and private commercial premises. All of these could be built elsewhere in the city leaving the Broadwater for open space and recreation for our growing population. The current situation is that the government has four contenders for the contract and the free public land and will decide on one of them in June. Three companies are foreign owned and one is Australian.
Gold Coast Cruise Ship Terminal Controversy Gecko’s Position: Gecko opposes the construction of any of the cruise ship terminal options for the Gold Coast as currently proposed in the media. Reasons for this opposition are detailed below. Our objections are