Back­lash from con­ser­va­tion­ists over man­age­ment

Port Douglas & Mossman Gazette - - FRONT PAGE -

THE Queens­land Govern­ment has re­ceived a back­lash from lo­cal con­ser­va­tion­ists over pro­posed changes to veg­e­ta­tion man­age­ment.

The pro­posed Veg­e­ta­tion Man­age­ment Frame­work Amend­ment Bill was de­vel­oped to re­duce red tape and in­crease growth in the agri­cul­tural sec­tor, how­ever a con­cern is the bill will wind back en­vi­ron­men­tal pro­tec­tion laws.

Cairns and Far North En­vi­ron­ment Cen­tre co­or­di­na­tor Anna McGuire said the amend­ments would re­duce pro­tec­tion of na­tive veg­e­ta­tion and al­low the clear­ing of 700,000 hectares of en­dan­gered and eco­log­i­cally sig­nif­i­cant forests and wood­lands.

‘‘Many of the amend­ments are not in the long-term in­ter­ests of Queens­land com­mu­ni­ties and are in di­rect con­flict with the pur­pose of the Vege- tation Man­age­ment Act, which is to make land use more sus­tain­able by pre­serv­ing bio­di­ver­sity and main­tain­ing eco­log­i­cal pro­cesses,’’ she said.

‘‘Th­ese amend­ments ef­fec­tively pri­ori­tise eco­nomic in­ter­ests over eco­log­i­cal con­cerns. This Bill should be re­jected for the sake of main­tain­ing our soil and wa­ter­way health, pro­tect­ing bio­di­ver­sity, and safe­guard­ing the fu­ture pros­per­ity of our re­gional and ru­ral com­mu­ni­ties.

‘‘What we need in this point of time, given the risk to bio­di­ver­sity from mul­ti­ple fac­tors, is for leg­is­la­tion to be strength­ened rather than weak­ened and not nec­es­sar­ily the veg­e­ta­tion man­age­ment act but en­vi­ron­ment pro­tec­tion in gen­eral.’’

Ms McGuire said there needs to be leg­is­la­tion in place that can find a bal­ance be­tween en­vi­ron­men­tal pro- tec­tion and sus­tain­able agri­cul­ture in­stead of chang­ing a man­age­ment plan that has had a pos­i­tive im­pact on the en­vi­ron­ment state-wide.

‘‘We are en­cour­ag­ing peo­ple to con­tact Pre­mier New­man about this, it’s a re­ally im­por­tant is­sue and we en­cour­age peo­ple to find out more and pass on any con­cerns to the Pre­mier, this is an is­sue of state con­cern,’’ she said.

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