Residents fight for wildlife Industrial estate planned at North Maclean
NORTH Maclean residents are fighting tooth and nail to protect vulnerable native flora and fauna from an industrial development.
The North Maclean Enterprise Precinct sits on a 117 hectare site on the corner of Crowson Lane and the Mt Lindesay Highway. The applicant proposes to clear-fell the whole site including small areas of the federally endan-gered melaleuca irbyana.
Logan and Albert Conservation Association president and Stanley Court resident Anne Page said the site was valuable habitat for wildlife including the endangered spotted-tail quoll, and vulnerable koala.
The proposal is currently seeking approval under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999, with invitations to comment closing on March 9.
Ms Page said the report submitted for assessment was lacking in critical information, including a detailed species survey. "There are other species that are vulnerable in Queensland that won't get a look-in during this consultation," she said.
The North Maclean site was first ear-marked for development by Beaudesert Shire Council in 1996, however by 2007 the council had changed its mind.
Ms Page said the project had changed names several times since and most of the community was unaware that the area was added to the Greater Flagstone Development Area in 2010.
"We really must emphasise the community has never been given the right to say no to this, ever," she said. "No-one's ever asked us, do you want this huge area of industrial development in the middle of a rural residential area?"
So concerned for koalas is the International Fund for Animal Welfare IFAW they have an online petition to Peter Wright Director, Species Information and Policy Section, Department of Environment concerning the Draft EPBC Act referral guidelines for koalas.
LACA Logan and Albert Conservation Association agrees with IFAW's conclusion that
If the government's Koala Referral Guidelines get the green light, it will legalise the destruction of vital koala habit. We urgently need your help as the 7th February deadline to prevent further koala deaths is looming. Let’s find a way to stop the bulldozers.
The latest proposed 'referral guidelines' are just another nail in the coffin, putting profit before protection. We need your help to let the Government know that this approach isn't good enough and that they must do much more if we are to save this precious Aussie icon.
Please write to the Government today making your views known. IFAW have drafted a submission the text follows below.
I am writing to you as an Australian animal lover to express my deep concern about the draft referral guidelines for koalas (combined populations of Queensland, New South Wales and the Australian Capital Territory).
These draft guidelines are not robust enough to ensure that potentially damaging developments are submitted for referral and scrutiny.
• Many areas important to the survival of koalas in urban and semi-urban areas are deemed not to need referral. • The scoring system for determining which koala habitats are referred is flawed, with only habitats achieving high scores of 8+ needing to be referred, ignoring those still critical koala habitats that may not make the grade. • Cumulative impacts have been completely ignored.
These draft guidelines would potentially allow extremely risky and damaging developments to proceed without proper assessment and without the opportunity for community or public scrutiny and consultation. This is a recipe for the continued demise of koala populations.
The threatened species referral measures under the EPBC Act need to be applied with rigour and a high degree of precaution and priority if they are to have any impact in protecting koalas. These guidelines are a step in the opposite direction – opening the door for unsustainable development to destroy habitats vital for koala survival.
As a priority a robust National Recovery Plan for the koala must be developed and implemented. This must include follow-up mechanisms to guarantee the continuation and improvement of coordinated management and conservation efforts for the species, ensuring that the populations not covered by the EPBC Act also are considered.
Australian Koala Foundation has also condemned the Draft EPBC Act referral guidelines for koalas.
Save the koala media release is scathing of the guidelines and their intention ending
“We have little faith that the EPBC Act or these guidelines will achieve much for the Koala. Indeed the only reason we have made this submission is to ensure our position is on the record. The only way to achieve true protection for the Koala will be to get the Koala Protection Act passed in Federal Parliament. And we will,” says Tabart.
Time is short but a short submission is all that is needed.
Guidelines website linked here states "These draft guidelines have been developed in consultation with Koala experts, ecological consultants and state government representatives. The public comment period provides an opportunity for wider consultation with stakeholders. Feedback is welcomed on all aspects of the guidelines and all comments received will be considered in the finalisation of this document."
Comments may be submitted in an Excel, Word or PDF format. Comments must be submitted to:
However, is it too little, too late? The Government at all levels has known what to do to ensure a sustainable coexistence between koalas and humans for decades, yet has chosen instead to prioritise anthropological development over the protection of prime koala habitat and the preservation of a national icon. Wildlife Queensland lives in hope that appropriate action will be taken before it is too late. Our children’s children should have the right to view the koala in the wild.
It provides a legal framework to protect and manage nationally and internationally important flora, fauna, ecological communities and heritage places — defined in the EPBC Act as matters of national environmental significance.
Under pressure from big business Federal, State and Territory governments are moving forward with an aggressive plan to wind back our environmental protection laws. By cutting 'green tape', handing important federal approval powers to the states, and fast tracking approvals for large development, federal protection for our most special places and wildlife will be removed, and mining and other destructive development in our forests, woodlands and along our coasts will be accelerated.
History has shown us that the Federal government has a critical role in protecting matters of national environmental significance. Short-sighted development proposals have threatened Australia's natural heritage several times in the past and the Federal government has stepped in to prevent irreversible harm.
Without Federal intervention, the Franklin River would be dammed, there would be oil rigs on the Great Barrier Reef and pristine Shoalwater Bay would be home to a large coal port.
Without Federal protection the KOALA will be doomed to extinction.
The Places You Love campaignwas founded by a group of 30 organisations, including HSI concerned with the proposals to wind back our system of environmental laws. We strongly believe that the reforms proposed will set us back decades on hard won protection for our land, water and wildlife
Support this action from Australian Koala Foundation. Go to the following linked page https://www.savethekoala.com/koala-army/send-letter and using information provided there, send a letter to your politicians. Phone them also for extra emphasis. Spread the word with your friends and family. Let them know you are joining the Koala Army to ask for a Koala Protection Act. This is especially inportant as our current legislation and policies have failed and will continue to fail to protect the koala's essential habitat.
It is particularly worrying that big business has had the government's ear and through COAG there are plans to give the EPBC Act 'powers' to state governments.
You might also like to go to the koala army shop to purchase a dog tag or army tee shirt?
Environment Minister Peter Garrett has axed the Hawke Review's recommendation of an independent watchdog over native forest logging with the power of sanctions for environmental destruction, Australian Greens Leader Senator Bob Brown said in Hobart today.
"Citing community concern Dr Hawke and his panel of experts came up with a clear and sensible plan to prevent the destruction of endangered habitats and fragile wildlife ecosystems in Australia's forests. But Garrett has opted to axe that advice and toady to Labor and the forest industry instead," Senator Brown said
"Garrett has also dumped the long-awaited recommendation of a climate change trigger. This would have enabled the minister to review developments which resulted in huge greenhouse gas emissions."
"On the cusp of the International Year of Biodiversity (to quote Garrett), this is particularly appalling behaviour by our nation's chief environmentalist."
"Which other minister would turn down recommendations to enhance his or her power to do their job properly?" Senator Brown asked.
Environment Minister Peter Garrett released the Final Report by Dr Alan Hawke of the Independent Review of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation (EPBC) Act 21 December 2009.
"This report has been the culmination of a huge amount of input from all levels of government, environmental groups, businesses, academics and members of the general public," Minister Garrett said.
There is a statutory requirement for the EPBC Act to be reviewed every 10 years. This is the first such review, commissioned by Minister Garrett on 31 October 2008 and was conducted by Dr Hawke and a panel of experts.
"The level of the awareness and concern for the environment in the Australian community has greatly increased in the decade since the EPBC Act commenced operation. Australians are increasingly aware of the need to ensure that our environment and heritage is protected, and that development occurs in an environmentally sustainable way," Minister Garrett said.
Dr Hawke and his team received around 340 written submissions throughout this process, from NGOs, industry bodies as well as interested individuals. Other submissions and comments were received from research groups and academics, individual corporations and Local, State, Territory and Australian Government agencies.
There was extensive face-to-face consultations conducted all over Australia and a number of workshops were also held to tap into the broadest range of views and expertise.
Dr Hawke has prepared a comprehensive report which includes recommendations for significant changes to the Act's operation and administration. The Hawke Report makes 71 primary recommendations as well as numerous conclusions and findings of an advisory nature.
"Dr Hawke's report examines many important and highly complex matters and these are not matters that can be taken lightly. The Government will give careful consideration to the recommendations and their implications in the coming months."
"Dr Hawke's Final Report also makes a recommendation in relation to a proposed ‘greenhouse trigger'. This recommendation has a direct bearing on the Government's response to climate change, and to the CPRS Bill that will be reintroduced into Parliament on 2 February 2010. " "For this reason, I feel it is important that we make clear the Government's policy on this recommendation now. The Government favours a market-based system to reduce our greenhouse emissions, and for that reason if the CPRS is passed there will be no need for a greenhouse trigger to be introduced, even as an interim measure. This is entirely consistent with Dr Hawke's intention."
"Additionally, the Government notes the concerns raised by Dr Hawke in recommendation 38 in the review regarding the current mechanisms in the Act for forest management under Regional Forest Agreements (RFAs), and is committed to working with state governments to improve the review, audit and monitoring arrangements for RFAs, including their timely completion, clearer assessment of performance against environmental and sustainable forestry outcomes, and a greater focus on compliance of RFAs in the intervening years," Minister Garrett said. The Government intends to use upcoming RFA renewal processes to improve the achievement of these outcomes in future RFAs. In light of this, the Government rejects the mechanisms proposed in recommendation 38 and does not propose to review section 38 of the EPBC Act as it currently applies to RFAs.
The Government recognises that the RFA's contain extensive review mechanisms as a framework for continuous improvement and it will principally rely on them to address the issues that Dr Hawke's review has identified.
"On the cusp of the International Year of Biodiversityis a particularly relevant time to release this major review into the operation of the Australian Government's primary piece of environmental legislation. The Government will respond to all other recommendations made by Dr Hawke towards the middle of next year."
"I'm tabling this report out of session because I think it's important people have plenty of time to absorb the many issues and recommendations contained in the report," Minister Garrett said.
Dr Allan Hawke has served with distinction in the Commonwealth Public Service from 1974 to February 2006, and has participated in major inquiries into the Public Service including the Review of Commonwealth Functions, the Review of Commonwealth Administration and the Efficiency Scrutiny Unit.
"I want to thank Dr Allan Hawke and his team comprising the Hon Paul Stein AM, Professor Tim Bonyhady, Professor Mark Burgman and Ms Rosemary Warnock, for the outstanding effort that has gone into this review. It was important that this process sought the broadest possible range of expertise and views. I am confident this has been achieved". Minister Garrett said.