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 gecko.org.au/campaigns/biodiversity for full details.
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.
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.
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
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
The toll on wildlife throughout the eastern states of Australia has been high, but many small and large wildlife care organisations are trying to rescue and care for injured and orphaned wildlife with limited resources. These organisations will need help for many months to come so regular donations would be appreciated
The public consultation period for the Coomera Connector (southern section), or M2 as some call it, will begin on Saturday 9th November, from 7am –3pm at Carrara Markets. This is the first of several opportunities for the public to see where the Coomera Connector, Stage 1, will go and to discuss its impacts with residents who live along the route and those with other concerns.
Currently Moreton Bay Marine Park’s southern boundary is the northern Seaway wall and the west takes in some of the Broadwater. The review is in 2 stages, with Stage 1 simply being a roll-over of the current zoning plans to ensure the Park retains its protection while extensive community consultation takes place in Stage 2. A discussion paper will be released by the Dept. of Environment and Science around October 2019 with calls for public submissions
Regrettably there has been little improvement in the plight of the koala on the Gold Coast and throughout South East Queensland as the population continues to grow and the development juggernaut rolls over their habitat.
In recent months the Department of Tourism has called for expressions of interest for development of eco- tourism ventures in National Parks. Queensland has only 7% of its area as national park, compared to 50% in Tasmania, however the Government has decided that in order to attract more tourists, developments should be allowed in national parks. Gecko has no objection to day visitors to national parks and would like to see better facilities and interpretation in our parks, but we cannot condone development in any national park.