Principles

The Queensland Greens believe that:

 

  1. Biodiversity, ecosystems and ecosystem processes maintain the Earth’s life support systems, including the climate system.
  2. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders have a critical role to play in maintaining our natural and cultural heritage.
  3. Human enterprises must be sustainable into the future. Our use of resources must not compromise their integrity or availability for other species and natural processes.
  4. The protection, conservation and restoration of biodiversity is essential for the wellbeing of all life on Earth.
  5. There is a global biodiversity crisis. The continuing decline of Queensland's biodiversity poses an unacceptable threat to human and ecosystem health and is reducing our capacity to cope with major ecological threats such as climate change.
  6. Protected areas, both publicly and privately owned, are vital for enhancing and preserving biodiversity and the physical and emotional health of Queenslanders.
  7. As the managers of the largest proportion of Queensland’s natural and productive landscape, farmers should be acknowledged and supported for the role they play in food production and natural resource management.
  8. Habitat loss, fragmentation and species decline from land clearing, intensive land use, the spread of invasive species and the increased natural stressors of fire, drought, floods, storms and cyclones (exacerbated by climate change) are the greatest threats to the biodiversity and natural systems of the planet.

 

Goals

The Queensland Greens want:

Biodiversity

  1. A reversal in the decline of Queensland’s biological diversity.
  2. The completion and establishment of a comprehensive, adequate and representative system of terrestrial, freshwater and marine protected areas managed primarily to protect biodiversity and the improved resilience of our ecosystems. This includes all areas of high conservation value (including regrowth) of state, regional and local significance.
  3. The delivery of adequate support for, and the recognition of, landholders, community groups and others managing and restoring Queensland’s biodiversity on private freehold or state leasehold land, marine and river systems at landscape, catchment and coastal zone levels.
  4. The provision of adequate resources to Queensland Government agencies, industry groups and other peak organisations to reverse the decline in Queensland’s biological diversity by diminishing the threats to: endangered and near threatened ecosystems and species; agricultural and marine productivity; and human health. This includes: preventing new ecologically invasive threats; management of weeds, feral animals and diseases; improving grazing land management and a phase out of inappropriate fire regimes.
  5. A statutory mandate, incumbent on planning authorities and affiliated agencies (public and private), to place higher priority on the preservation of ecologically significant, endangered or threatened ecosystems and species.
  6. Ecological connections between remnant ecosystems to be maintained and increased with a system of viable ‘habitat corridors’.

Economic activity

  1. To support sustainable economic development by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in Cape York Peninsula and the Gulf of Carpentaria that is consistent with maintaining the natural values of these regions.
  2. To ensure that recreational and commercial fishing can continue to coexist into the future by operating within sustainable and restorative harvesting limits.

 

Managing for the Total Water Cycle

  1. To promote sustainable practices based on the water management hierarchy (reduce water use, reuse water (e.g. grey water) and recycle (treating used water) and the recognition of the natural limits to growth.

Environmental assessment, monitoring and enforcement

  1. Adequate resourcing, political support and improved accountability for government agencies responsible for environmental protection and monitoring.
  2. Legislative reform to ensure necessary and enduring levels of environmental protection.

 

Measures

The Queensland Greens will:

Biodiversity

  1. Revise the Queensland Biodiversity Strategy, and associated legislation, policy and regulation. Ensure adequate funding for timely implementation and enforcement in order to restore, enhance and protect the resilience of Queensland ecosystems to climate change and other impacts.
  2. Amend the Nature Conservation Act 1992to:

a.     identify and protect ecological communities;

b.     protect the habitat of near threatened species; and

c.     permanently exclude mining activities in, and from impacting upon, all protected areas and those with high conservation values at state, regional and local levels.

  1. Increase the budget for protected area management to ensure that management plans for all National Parks are developed, adequately funded and implemented
  2. Support the resilience of Queensland’s wildlife and natural places to climate change by expanding the protected area estate to 20% by 2020, including 15% in national parks. Ensure additions are based on Comprehensive, Adequate and Representative (CAR) reserve system principles and strategically targeted to re-connect fragmented wildlife corridors and establish climate refugia (e.g. continue the buy-back of the Daintree).
  3. Amend the Vegetation Management Act 1999to protect endangered, near threatened and high conservation value regrowth vegetation, all remnant and high value regrowth vegetation in urban areas, and vegetation in riparian and wildlife corridors.
  4. Provide structural adjustment to landowners proven to be adversely affected by these amendments.
  5. Disallow offsets for clearing of endangered or near threatened remnant and high value regrowth vegetation.
  6. Where viable, remove or modify structures impeding tidal flow in areas which were once wetlands, to restore wetland functionality and habitat.
  7. Strengthen the legislation for protection against and management of invasive species and adequately fund implementation programs.
  8. Confer dual responsibility for meeting state biodiversity outcomes to the Department of Environment and Resource Management (DERM) and Department of Employment, Economic Development and Innovation (DEEDI) or any subsequent equivalent agencies.
  9. Adequately fund effective control programs for established invasive species at the landholder, bioregion and state level.

 

World Heritage

  1. In collaboration with the federal government, traditional owners and the local community, and dependent upon traditional owner consent, progress a World Heritage nomination for Cape York Peninsula.
  2. Introduce dedicated World Heritage legislation that provides the highest level of protection for all World Heritage sites in Queensland against threatening and degrading activities.
  3. In cooperation with the federal government, ensure adequate funding is provided to maintain the natural and cultural values of all Queensland World Heritage Areas.
  4. Review visitation to World Heritage Areas to determine optimum levels and activities to protect World Heritage values and restrict/manage where necessary.

Assisting land managers to meet their duty of care

  1. Support and extend the single property-level planning system (One Plan) to further assist landholders in understanding, planning and implementing practices to meet their statutory environmental obligations.
  2. Ensure that a rating of ‘good’ for biodiversity is required before the lease as a whole can be considered in ‘good condition’ in order to obtain longer leases in accordance with the Delbessie Agreement and the Land Act 1994.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders values and economic opportunities

  1. Increase ongoing employment opportunities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in caring for country at all levels by extending the “River Rangers” model to all Queensland catchments (not just those with Wild River status) and participation in nature conservation programs (both on and off reserves).
  2. Require Emergency Management Queensland to consult with local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities to develop locally appropriate fire management plans that protect critical assets, incorporate local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander values and improve biodiversity outcomes.
  3. Legislate for the implementation of meaningful joint management of national parks with local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities while complying with the cardinal principle of National Parks: “to provide, to the greatest possible extent, for the permanent preservation of the area's natural condition and the protection of the area's cultural resources and values”.
  4. Work with the local Aboriginal communities of the Wet Tropics and the Australian Government to make a submission to the World Heritage Commission for the inclusion of indigenous cultural values in the Wet Tropics World Heritage Area.
  5. Recognise and reflect local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultural values in the management of all World Heritage and Protected Areas.
  6. Increase funding for indigenous rangers and ensure genuine joint management of protected areas on Cape York Peninsula by traditional owners and the Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service.
  7.  Provide funds to support local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders management land, sea and conservation by on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander lands and grants to support training programs, business development initiatives and employment programs for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in the land management sector.

Environmental assessment, monitoring, enforcement

  1. Provide appropriate resources for compliance and enforcement (including strategic prosecutions) and education for compliance programs for all natural resource legislation, especially for illegal clearing.
  2. Review the effectiveness of private and state forestry Codes of Practice to determine if they are achieving ecological sustainability goals.
  3. Legislate to prohibit the mining and exploration of uranium
  4. Develop clear, binding, best practice standards for rehabilitating mined lands.
  5. Ensure existing and future mining legislation and activities in Queensland are subordinate to the Vegetation Management Act 1999, Nature Conservation Act 1992 and relevant environmental protection legislation.

Legal reform

  1. Increased funding for community legal services
  2. Provide funding for public interest environmental litigation through Legal Aid

Carbon sequestration

  1. Reform the Vegetation Management Act 1999 and its amendments to place greater emphasis on the carbon sequestration potential of vegetation to encourage deep cuts in greenhouse emissions consistent with the Queensland Greens Climate and Energy policy.
  2. Restrict biosequestration activities which diminish biodiversity, e.g. exotic monoculture plantations.

Managing for the Total Water Cycle

  1. Introduce and enforce state wide laws to improve the regulation of sediment, nutrient, pollutant run-off from urban, recreational, agricultural and industrial activities and diffuse sources and empower all local governments to administer and enforce sediment and erosion control regulations.
  2. Apply legislative requirements to state projects regarding management of pollutants and impacts to waterways, catchments and other bodies of water.
  3. Develop a Water Quality Improvement Plan for all Queensland catchments and provide adequate resources to Queensland Government agencies, regional natural resource management bodies, community organisations, industry groups and other organisations to meet Water Quality Improvement Plan targets.
  4. Amend the Sustainable Planning Act 2009 to ensure all defined watercourses are given statutory protection in local planning schemes and state regional plans.
  5. Amend all state Water Resource Plans to set sustainable limits of water extraction in accordance with ongoing scientific evaluation. Ensure that precedence is given to environmental flow requirements over consumptive uses and financial considerations in water planning decisions.
  6. Maintain support for established rural water efficiency programs, provide incentives for the adoption of less water intensive crops and establish a fund to buy back "sleeper" licences in over-allocated systems.
  7. Accelerate the capping of bores, encourage the uptake of the most water efficient irrigation systems and the piping of open channel irrigation systems in the Great Artesian Basin. 8. Prohibit the construction of new major public dams and desalination plants.
  8. Provide biologically proven fish passage at existing barriers in Queensland waterways.
  9. Commit additional resources to support genuine consultation and engagement with Traditional Owner groups and other stakeholders during and after the Wild River declaration processes.
  10. Regulate to prevent further loss of Queensland wetlands and require all Queensland Government agencies to protect all mapped wetlands and their ecologically based buffer zones (state, regional and local mapping) in planning, land use and ongoing management decisions.
  11. Produce high resolution comprehensive state, regional and local maps of Queensland wetlands and their ecologically based buffer zones as a matter of urgency.
  12. Increase funding to promote the rehabilitation and the sustainable use of Queensland’s remaining wetlands through education and financial incentive schemes.
  13. Prohibit the introduction and use of exotic species in ponded pastures and the introduction and stocking of non-native fish species in water storages.

Wild Rivers

  1. Uphold the Wild Rivers Act 2005 and keep all existing Wild River declarations. Finalise the current schedule for protection of identified wild rivers on Cape York Peninsula by mid-2012 (following extensive community consultation). River systems scheduled for protection are: Jardine River, Jacky Jacky Creek, Ducie River, Olive River, Pascoe River, Watson River, Holroyd River, Coleman River and Jeannie River Deliver on the existing commitment to employ 100 full-time Indigenous Wild River Ranger positions in Far North Queensland, and 10 in the Lake Eyre Basin.
  2. Protect a new series of river basins under the Wild Rivers legislation within the next term of government (following extensive community consultation). Priority river systems for consideration are: Paroo River, Bulloo River, Gilbert River, Baffle Creek, Noosa River, Sandy Creek and Waterpark Creek.
  3. Commit additional resources to support genuine consultation and engagement with Traditional Owner groups and other stakeholders during and after the Wild River declaration processes.
  4. Cancel the proposed Nathan, Connors River, Urannah and Nullinga dams
  5. Reform the Wild Rivers Act 2005to allow the public to nominate a river for Wild River protection.

Sustainable management of Queensland’s coasts

  1. Review and amend the State and Regional Coastal Management Plans to include climate change mitigation and adaptation strategies based upon available science. Provide statutory direction for local governments in relation to existing communities. Review currently identified Maritime Development Areas (MDA’s) and rezone where necessary to protect coastal ecosystems and processes
  2. Amend the Sustainable Planning Act 2009to require Councils and state decision makers to adhere to State and Regional Coastal Management Plans, rather than “have regard to” them and enact legislation to give statutory effect to these plans.
  3. Adequately resource best practice monitoring for all estuarine areas of Queensland as part of a comprehensive integrated aquatic ecosystem health program.
  4. Assess the effectiveness of the initial zonings in protecting fish stocks for commercial, recreational and environmental purposes.
  5. Develop a water quality protection plan for all coastal catchments, based on the Reef Water Quality Protection Plan principles.
  6. Increase funding for existing marine park management and planning.
  7. Change boat registration fees so they are calculated upon engine horsepower (the same as motor vehicles) to reflect the higher impact of high horse power vessels.
  8. Assess the impact of and introduce regulation to manage the number of boat ramps to limit the impact of vessels on estuaries and coastal foreshores.
  9. Review maximum take limits for commercial and recreational fishing (bag limits) and compliance with the regulations to ensure the sustainability of stock levels and increase marine biodiversity.
  10. Ban shark fishing in the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area immediately and phase out shark fishing in Queensland fisheries by 2014 until any catches of shark can be determined and proven scientifically to be sustainable.
  11. Require all distributors and retailers and food and health product outlets to use standard common names and the state or country of origin for all marine and derived foods and health products
  12. Develop a State Planning Policy with strict environmental and site suitability criteria for the location and operation of all aquaculture, with a three year grace period of full adoption of existing facilities. Allow community appeal rights against the grant of new aquaculture approvals.
  13. Exclude oil and gas exploration and extraction in the Coral Sea.

 

Sustainable use of Queensland’s native forests and increasing the forestry plantation estate

  1. Continue the transition of Queensland’s native hardwood timber industry to one based on non-monoculture plantations.
  2. Amend “The code applying to a native forest practice on freehold land “ to prohibit logging native rainforest species and protect native rainforest ecosystems.

 

Re-use of resources

  1. Fully implement and adequately fund the Queensland Waste Strategy and make waste fees comparable with other Australian states.
  2. Investigate and legislate for an appropriate minimum distance from residences for noxious industrial activity. Relocate any noxious industrial zones that fall within this minimum distance. Refer Refer State Planning Policy 5/10 Air, Noiseand Hazardous Materials
  3. Establish an evidence based Queensland Industrial Ecology program to promote and invest in reducing or transforming toxic and noxious outputs in order to reduce their environmental and health impacts.
  4. Require all industrial sites, facilities and developments to develop Toxic and Noxious Substance Management and Reduction Plans that include publicly available (online) annual reports on the storage, movements, and achievement in reduction targets for toxic and noxious substances above trigger thresholds.
  5. Increase funding to local governments to provide for the pre-sorting of green waste, recyclables, electronic waste, etc. at the point of deposit (e.g. homes, businesses, public bins).
  6. Increase the capacity for processing recycled timber in Queensland.
  7. Develop product stewardship frameworks for specific products in consultation with industry and consumer groups.
  8. Introduce Queensland Container Deposit Legislation

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