Are we threat­en­ing wildlife or ru­ral de­vel­op­ment?

Central Queensland News - - NEWS -

CON­SER­VA­TIVE think tank, the In­sti­tute of Pub­lic Af­fairs, has claimed a rise in the num­ber of species listed as “threat­ened” is hold­ing back re­gional de­vel­op­ment.

But Queens­land Con­ser­va­tion Coun­cil dubbed the state­ment an “ide­o­log­i­cal at­tack” and said en­vi­ron­men­tal laws were “tooth­less tigers” that rarely stopped a de­vel­op­ment.

IPA re­search fel­low Mor­gan Begg said since 1992 the num­ber of threat­ened species had in­crease 63%, stop­ping de­vel­op­ment and in­vest­ment in re­gional ar­eas.

“The cur­rent tra­jec­tory of threat­ened species list­ing is un­sus­tain­able, and places sig­nif­i­cant costs on de­vel­op­ment and growth,” Mr Begg said. “Th­ese costs are dis­pro­por­tion­ately paid by re­gional Aus­tralia, which hosts the bulk of Aus­tralia’s na­tive wildlife.

“Cen­tralised en­vi­ron­men­tal law, in­clud­ing the threat­ened species regime, fa­cil­i­tates ‘green law­fare’ – which has cost the Aus­tralian econ­omy as much as $1.2 bil­lion in de­lays since 2000.”

But Queens­land Con­ser­va­tion Coun­cil co-or­di­na­tor Tim Seelig said the IPA re­port was a “red her­ring”.

“I think it’s a quite ex­tra­or­di­nary ide­o­log­i­cal at­tack on en­vi­ron­men­tal laws,” he said. “Our en­vi­ron­men­tal laws are far too weak, which is why we are see­ing so many species added to the threat­ened list.”

Dr Seelig said de­spite the IPA’s claim en­vi­ron­men­tal laws almost never stopped a de­vel­op­ment pro­gress­ing.

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