Logan & Albert Conservation Association

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AGM Thursday July 24 2014 Beaudesert

Last Updated on 23 July 2014

Our Logan and Albert Conservation Association AGM will be held on July 24 2014 at Beaudesert Arts and Information Centre stating at 7.30pm

A new management committee will be elected by financial members and outgoing members will report back on our activities. The AGM will be followed by a short general meeting. 

All who have an interest in helping to conserve the values of the natural environment and promoting a sustainable lifestyle are invited to consider joining our association. 

Logan and Albert Conservation Association covers both Scenic Rim Regional Council and Logan City areas - urban, suburban, rural, peri-urban, emerging communities with Bromelton, Yarrabilba and Greater Flagstone developing within the two council areas. 

endangeredSouth East Queensland is a biodiversity hotspot whose landscapes and species are challenged by the advancing pressures of human settlements and developments. By joining Logan and Albert Conservation Association, LACA, you can help to influence and promote ecologically sustainable development.

Visitors are always welcome to attend our meetings.  

Come along to any meeting to share with us your story and hear ours.

 

Environmental Submission writing kit for the Draft Logan Planning Scheme

Last Updated on 28 April 2014

 Environmental Submission writing kit for the Draft Logan Planning Scheme

due: deadline 5 pm Wednesday 30 April

Logan and Albert Conservation Association have 5 key concerns relating to the strategic planning that underlies the planning documents. We have explained the background behind each concern and make a recommendation for how those values - which are core values for our organisation - could be improved. Please read the following document to read all 5 points. The first 3 points are covered in the pdf document lower down the page. Regional biodiversity corridors and Priority Development Areas (PDAs) are the last 2 points added.

Planning_Scheme_Environmental_Submission_writing_kit.5points_docx.pdf

Do not include attachments (which would have to be digitally signed) unless you need to

Submissions must be properly-made for Council to consider your feedback. A properly made submission means:

•          You must include the full name and address of each person making the submission

•          Submissions must state the grounds for the submission and the facts or circumstances to support the grounds. See text in red below

Apart from email submissions (preferred)  written submissions - posted letters or email attachments, but NOT emails, must be signed by each person making the submission

So the simplest and best option for submissions is to direct email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.">This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

Submissions can also be made Via post to Logan City Council, PO Box 3226, Logan City DC, Qld 4114, but have to arrive by 5 pm Wednesday 30 April

 Significant environmental concerns to comment on include

Koala mapping not included as statutory overlay in Draft Planning Scheme

Offsetting and the Council’s flawed Ecological Significance scoring

Limited locally significant flora and fauna mapping

Background information for each is provided to explain why Logan and Albert Conservation LACA and others are concerned.

1. Koala mapping not included as statutory overlay in Draft Planning Scheme

Background: While out of date mapping of Koala habitat does appear in the Draft Planning Scheme, this is not legally supported mapping (ie not statutory) and therefore has little chance of being defended in a court challenge. 

This is because, while the Draft Logan Planning Scheme (DLPS) must adhere to the State Government’s ‘Single State Planning Policy (SPP)’, there is no requirement in this for the Council to incorporate statutory Koala mapping in the planning scheme.
Therefore there is no legal support in the planning scheme for the protection of koalas in the DLPS. This again underscores how hollow the State Government’s concerns are for protecting the environment – where they say they will ‘protect’ but then provide legislation which is toothless. However, by putting a comment on this into your submission you help send a strong message to both Council and the State Government that the community wants stronger legal protection for Koalas and their habitat in Queensland. 
2. Offsetting and the Council’s flawed Ecological Significance scoring
Background: So-called ‘offsetting’ is now a core part of State Government ‘environmental’ policy. It is emerging as their principle propaganda tool around environment issues in Qld. Yet it is a ‘sleight-of-hand’ process that results in a net loss of biodiversity each time it occurs. It is a way of soothing concern over development in critically sensitive areas by promising that something will be done in the future to balance (and somehow make acceptable) the loss of crucial wetlands, rainforest, reef etc. The State Government is now so chuffed about the righteousness of this idea that they are even pointing to the possibility of National Parks being ‘offset’ if a coal miner wants to take them out. The Federal Government supports this too. Five million tonnes of port dredge spoil dumped on the Great Barrier Reef will now be OK because Federal Minister Hunt has said this can offset by reducing the flows of sediment out of the Burdekin River – a vague promise into the future that will more than likely never happen in any real sense. ‘Environmental offsets’ can more accurately be called ‘environmental setbacks’. 
Council has devised its own ‘offsets’ policy based on ecological scores for each property across the Logan landscape.  To do this they have created an ‘ecological significance’ map which assigns ecological values to various ecosystems across Logan. The trouble is most of this was ‘desk top’ – based on mapped and recorded data that was already 7 or more years old. There is little inclusion of fauna and flora survey data and other knowledge that has been recorded for Logan since 2007. We have found significant flaws, deficiencies and anomalies in the Council’s ecological scoring, which will be directly used to calculate the ‘cost’ of an offset to a developer. As a result, there are potentially many high biodiversity areas in Logan that score very low (therefore cheap to offset) just because amazing new data since 2007 hasn’t been included.  We cannot support the concept of offsetting and we certainly should not, by omission, give tacit approval to an offset policy that is based on flawed and deficient data.
3. Limited locally significant flora and fauna mapping
Background: Logan has responsibility for a number of rare and endangered plant and animal species that require attention through the Planning Scheme if they are to survive the next decade on our watch. So it is alarming that the Draft Planning Scheme has only mapped two ‘locally significant’ threatened plant species (Gossia gonoclada and Melaleuca irbyana), and one ecosystem type (vine forest) as worthy of special consideration under the new Planning Scheme, which will be operative possibly until the mid 2020s.
By then it may be too late to do anything about the vulnerable to extinction Persicaria elatior, a flowering plant that is now only recorded in tiny numbers in one site in Logan City and nowhere else in mainland Queensland. And it may be too late to provide tree hollow homes in old growth trees for the Powerful Owl, which helps control flying fox numbers.   And the endangered Glossy Black Cockatoo may not find any of its special food trees left anywhere in Logan. And rapid clearing of essential habitat for the endangered Quoll will mean this very special marsupial may needlessly disappear from this part of Australia, on our watch.  And of course there is the Koala. 
Mapping the location of the essential habitat of these plants and animals across Logan adds another check on reckless clearing of sites critical to the survival of these species. It is not enough for the planning scheme to recognise only two plant species with special mapping - there are a number of other plants and animals that need ongoing layers of protection provided by statutory mapping in the Planning Scheme.
 Open the following document

Here you find an example of what you can write:  

 In your email submission, you could copy and paste the text in red below the background, or say the same things in your own words.

Make sure you include the second part -  ‘My proposed change to the Draft Logan Planning Scheme’

It is important that you make a submission to protect the biodiversity of our region - the flora and fauna - endangered threatened rare and common that together with our waterways make SOUTH EAST QUEENSLAND  the special ecological region that it is.

 

 

 

Are your values reflected in Logan's planning?

Last Updated on 28 April 2014

Logan's draft planning scheme has been widely publicised online and at libraries. Comments /submissions

close Wednesday 30 April 2014 5pm

A full calendar of events was / is provided at this link http://www.logan.qld.gov.au/planning-and-building/planning/draft-planning-scheme/upcoming-draft-logan-planning-scheme-events. It is unfortunate that most of these opportunities were between 9am - 5pm, challenging for those working a fulltime day job.

Logan-planning2014

“Planner Desk” may still be available at Council customer service centres and council's administration building.

A form for your completion is available from council's website. For your convenience this is the form LoganPaperSubmissionForm2014.pdf

You can have your say on the draft planning scheme by writing a submission.  You can make a submission: 
  • Online: www.logan.qld.gov.au/draftplanningscheme [ not really as pdf has to be printed out - filled in - and posted - or scanned and emailed]
  • Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 
  • Post: PO BOX 3226, Logan City DC, Qld 4114 
  • There are blank forms available at Logan City Council admin and all /most libraries.
There is space then to write your submission - about half a page - or attach extra pages. So your submission can be as short and succinct or longer and more detailed as you wish.
It is important to note that for
a submission to be considered it must: 
- be signed by each person making the submission; 
- be received on or before 5.00pm on 30 April 2014; 
- state the name and address of each person making the submission; 
- state the grounds of the submission, and facts and circumstances relied on in support of these grounds. [preferably]
Our values are reflected in our submissions.
As a conservation organisation  Logan and Albert Conservation Association LACA  has as our guiding value the protection and further enhancement of places and species of environmental significance - locally nationally and globally.
 
To this end the policy of OFFSETS is not supported at any level. It is disappointing that the Ecological Significance mapping and score system is not readily accessable. . This 'policy' allows for an area to be cleared for development - shopping centres - housing - sporting field - road - water pipeline - electricity - even schools. depending on the score a 'replacement' cost is calculated. No offset can mitigate against loss of old growth habitat trees.
 
The Planning scheme policy 3–Environmental management contains the information. Read it at  http://www.logan.qld.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0009/286974/Planning-scheme-policy-3-Environmental-management.pdf
 
 
Did you know there were f
ive reference groups have been established to provide feedback on the draft planning scheme. Details and minutes of these meetings can be accessed from the links below: 
  • Community Services Reference Group
  • Development and Industry Reference Group
  • Environmental Reference Group
  • Local Residents Reference Group - decided not to make joint / collaborative submission. 
  • Rural and Agricultural Reference Group
  • http://www.logan.qld.gov.au/planning-and-building/planning/draft-planning-scheme/community-and-industry-reference-groups
  • Lots to read if you are concerned. It is assumed that most residents / submitters will be interested in their own area and this may reduce what you choose to read. It is almost impossible for non planning / development industry people to understand the significance of all documents.

It is noteworthy that all planning schemes have to be accepted by Queensland State Government and also align with South East Queensland Regional Plan which is currently being reviewed with the new plan to be completed by the end of 2014.

 How will the new regional plan work?

The Queensland Government is reforming the planning and development system to ensure the state’s continued growth and prosperity. In the context of the review of the regional plan for South East Queensland, the most relevant of these
reforms is the

The Queensland Government is reforming the planning and development system to ensure the state’s continued growth and prosperity. In the context of the review of the regional plan for South East Queensland, the most relevant of these
reforms is the single State Planning Policy (SPP).Two pages worth reading at  http://www.dsdip.qld.gov.au/resources/factsheet/regional/seq-regional-plan-fs5.pdf

Read more...
 

Remembering Tomorrow

Last Updated on 21 March 2014

 

Rise-and-rise-of-zombie-politics BarryFitzpatrick Econews Dec2013Discussing his memoir Remembering Tomorrow, veteran political activist Michael Albert talks about the stages in public awareness that gave rise to the 60s anti-establishment movements. These included growing realisation that corporations were often crooks and environmental plunderers, governments were not always honourable, politicians told lies, many women suffered physical and sexual abuse, lawyers did not always represent justice, and birds were disappearing.

Sound wearily familiar?

But for people living through the Pollyanna world of the 50s and 60s this was shocking. Environmental movements, along with feminist, black power and anti-war campaigns, quickly sprouted in response. There was growing conviction that things had to change - or be changed.

In the 21st century this is broken. Mass ecocide, corporate corruption, political impropriety and sexual abuse routinely fill-out the 24 hour news cycle.  Contrasting the present with the past, Michael Albert believes the average citizen’s propensity now for coping with these daily horrors can be neatly summed up in the statement “I don’t want to hear this because I can’t do anything about it”.

 Which, as a self-defence strategy, is tantamount to adopting a state of corpse-like torpor. 

 But it is voter torpor that has provided fertile ground for backward looking conservatives and development interests wanting to exploit a politically numb and easily spooked public. Following Tony Abbott’s margin-of-one-vote arrival as leader of the Liberal party, and with the willing support of a small army of shock-jocks and lobotomised journalists, conservative spinners and strategists in Australia began the earnest task of eating the brains of their target audiences, cheered on of course by industry interests.  The objective was to create a receptive Australia where it would remain possible in the 21st century (as economist John Quiggan puts it in his book Zombie Economics) for dead ideas to continue to ‘walk among us’ – at least until all the coal gets pulled out of the ground.  

And certainly, when it comes to zombies -  defined variously as ‘animated corpses raised by magical means’ or ‘one who looks or behaves like an automaton’ - who better than zombie puppet-master Abbott to raise the dead and breathe some sort of life back into the decaying political ideas of the extreme right?    

So what is the game plan employed by government and industry to keep the undead in a state of unthinking about environmental threats such as climate change and coal ports on the Great Barrier Reef?

Read more...
 

ENVIRONMENTAL DISPUTES and TPPA

Last Updated on 21 March 2014

There have been some 450 ENVIRONMENTAL DISPUTES arising out of previous free trade agreements which include ISDS provisions similar to those proposed for the TPPA:
By the end of 2011, corporations like Chevron, Exxon Mobil, Dow Chemical, and Cargill had launched 450 investor-state cases against 89 governments, including the US, to fightcommon-sense environmental laws and regulations. Among these cases were challenges to bans on toxic chemicals, fracking, timber,mining regulations, programs that incentivised green jobs and renewable energy programs.

Recently Peru has been required to pay Renco the largest ever damages award of USD$ 4.2 billion for banning products that had contaminated the La Oroya, Peru environment and had poisoned 95% of children there. An incredible outcome protecting the polluter!!
The US Lone Star Mining company is currently using ISDS provisions in the North American Free Trade Agreement to sue the Canadian Quebec provincial government because it has suspended coal seam gas fracking pending a study of its environmental impact.
Ethyl vs Canadian Government 1998-99: US company Ethyl successfully challenged a Canadian ban on gasoline additive MMT which the Canadian government claimed was harmful to human health and the environment. The Canadian government agreed to withdraw the ban and pay Ethyl $13 million
On August 25, 2008, Dow AgroSciences LLC, a U.S. corporation, served a Notice of Intent to Submit a Claim to Arbitration under Chapter 11 of NAFTA, for losses allegedly caused by a Quebec ban on the sale and certain uses of lawn pesticides containing the active ingredient 2,4-D. The tribunal issued a consent award as the parties to the dispute reached a settlement
In the United States and Canada the reality is that federal governments are often willing to "lose" these cases in order to discipline provincial, state or municipal governments that have adopted progressive social and environmental policies.

The proposed TPP foreign investor privileges would provide foreign firms greater 'rights' than those afforded to domestic firms. This includes a 'right' to not have expectations frustrated by a change in government policy
In the US, the powerful corporate lobby position on the Australian Labor Government's position is, quote: 'American companies should be able to side-step the Australian legal system in the event of certain legal disputes'
Under ISDS rules, even when governments win, they often must pay for the tribunals' costs and legal fees, which average $8 million per case.
The TPP would expand the scope of policies that could be attacked. For example, in health, the office of the United States trade Representative has also proposed patenting surgical procedures - a move that would force Congress to change IP law and one that could force surgeons to obtain permission from patent-holders before performing surgery!
Australia is already experiencing the effects of ISDS provisions with Phillip Morris, having failed in Australia's High Court, now attacking Australia's cigarette labelling policy off-shore using a 1994 'Investment Agreement' with Hong Kong that contained ISDS provisions. This could cost Australia hundreds of millions of dollars.

 

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