Coomera Connector Road Update 5 January 2021

This is a proposed 4-6 lane highway with speeds up to 100km/h which will run roughly parallel to the east of the M1 and which is purported to remove 60,000 vehicles from the M1 and reduce congestion on the M1. However the end result will be 14 lanes of traffic from the Gold Coast to the Logan Motorway and no increase in public transport patronage.
At present there is funding of $1.53 billion for Stage 1 only and the project will begin mid-year with the construction of the Coomera River Bridge. Stage 1 is from Nerang to Coomera. Public consultation is likely in the first half of 2021. See for full details.

EPBC Bi-Lateral Approval Bill-Submission about Proposed Changes

Over that time Gecko, as a leading regional environmental body, has actively participated in all
consultations relating the EPBC Act, the cornerstone of Australia’s environmental protection as well
as to development proposals that trigger Matters of National Environmental Significance (MNES). In
this instance we would like to express our strong objection to this Bill, its manner of hasty passage
through Parliament and the lamentably curtailed debate that has taken place. We believe that this
Bill, which has been prematurely drafted and tabled, should have been informed by the final report
of the statutory independent review of the EPBC Act conducted by Prof Graeme Samuel AO. This has
yet to be presented to the public, together with the government’s considered response. The findings
of the preliminary report clearly stated that, “The EPBC Act is ineffective. It does not enable the
Commonwealth to protect and conserve environmental matters that are important for the nation.”
This view was backed up by the Australian National Audit Office which found that the federal
government’s administration of the EPBC Act was neither effective nor efficient.
No proof has been provided to demonstrate that the Bill will provide increased efficiency or a reduction of the costs of development applications.

Environment Protection & Biodiversity Conservation Act Proposals

The Federal legislation the Environment Protection Biodiversity Conservation Act (EPBC) is under review by Professor Samuels, and his final report is due for release prior to Christmas. In the meantime the Federal Government is pushing through a Bill called Environment Protection Biodiversity Conservation (Streamlining Approvals) Bill which gives the State Governments the role of assessing development applications under the EPBC Act, without any national standards to guide their decisions. Gecko is opposing this undue haste and has requested that such a decision is delayed at least until February 2021 until the Review report is made public and national standards are developed.

Gecko’s Campaigns Team Annual Report 2020

This year began with the horrific fires along the eastern seaboard and we were all very distressed not only with the human loss of life and property, but also the loss and injury of an estimated 3 billion native animals. The impact of this are still with us and are compounded by the inadequate Federal and State environment laws to protect wildlife and native plants remaining.
The year continued with the advent of the Covid 19 pandemic in March, which resulted in the closing of the Gecko House office for several months, but the work of the campaigns team continued during the lockdown. The Campaign team works in 4 main areas – Biodiversity, Climate Change, Protection of Public Open Space and a Liveable Green City


In a few weeks Queenslanders will go to the polls to elect a government for the next 4 years and those of us in the conservation movement will be examining closely each party’s policies on the environment. No major party is without fault in failing to protect the amazing biodiversity we have in Queensland or taking effective action on climate change. It is understandable that during the pandemic and in its aftermath the focus of any government will be on getting the economy going, but unfortunately this is often at the expense of the environment on which the economy depends. This is very clearly seen in the situation with Queensland national parks. See for more info.

Update about City Plan 2nd February 2020

On 27th September the Gold Coast City Council called for public submissions on amendments (changes) to the planning scheme (City Plan) and established a number of pop-up information sessions at various places throughout the city. Gecko urges all residents of Gold Coast to check out these proposed changes to the City plan and put in a submission. The amendments (changes) are intended to improve the City Plan and the way our City responds to the ongoing population growth. Not everyone will agree that all amendments are an improvement and this is why your submission is vital.

Koala Conservation Update 2020

The State Government has been developing a koala conservation strategy for several years in response to the alarming decline in koala numbers over past decades. This is mainly due to loss of habitat, 74% since 1967, vehicle strikes, dog attacks and disease. A Expert panel examined the situation and provided the Government with a number of recommendations to respond to this situation. The Government has accepted all of the recommendations and the Strategy and mapping is the first of several actions to address the situation