Protection For Waterways And Great Barrier Reef With Online Tools

Protection For Waterways And Great Barrier Reef With Online Tools

Queensland Minister for Environment Steven Miles

Online Tools Helps Construction Industry Protect Waterways And Great Barrier Reef

Victor P Taffa

Waterways from local creeks to the Great Barrier Reef will be afforded greater protection after new mobile-friendly online tools to assist the building and construction sectors meet erosion and sediment control requirements were launched today.

Environment Minister Dr. Steven Miles said the tools helped the construction sector prevent sediment leaving building and construction sites and reaching local waterways, Moreton Bay and the iconic Great Barrier Reef.

“The on-line tools and guidelines have been developed by the Department of Environment and Heritage Protection (EHP) and Healthy Waterways Ltd in collaboration with Master Builders Queensland and the Housing Industry Association (Qld).” Dr. Miles said.

 

“Factsheets, checklists and compliance guidelines will be available online and in a mobile-friendly format, through a specially developed mobile app, to allow builders, contractors and local government officers to easily access information on appropriate management practices while on-site.”

Key elements of urban erosion and sediment control include:

  • Covering exposed soil to minimise erosion
  • Maintaining kerb-to-lot groundcover and stockpile protection
  • Installing and maintaining sediment barriers and lot entry / exit pads
  • Managing runoff through downpipe connections and stormwater inlet protection.

“Industry and local governments will have an opportunity to test the online materials and provide feedback during face-to-face ‘capacity-building’ workshops, which will be held in Hervey Bay, Mackay, Townsville, Cairns, Gold Coast and Brisbane between April and June this year.” Dr. Miles said.

“The South-East Queensland (SEQ) Regional Plan identifies that a major increase in urban land is needed to cater for the construction of 740,000 dwellings in south-east Queensland to accommodate a projected population of 4.4 Million people by 2031.”

“To reduce the risk of major increases in sediment, nutrients and toxic substances reaching south-east Queensland waterways and Moreton Bay, best practice land development and construction are essential and these tools will help industry and local governments to achieve legislative compliance.” Dr. Miles said.

Master Builders Queensland Deputy Executive Director Paul Bidwell said Queensland’s building and construction industry was fully committed to environmental best-practice.

“Our industry has worked for many years to ensure it delivers environmentally sustainable outcomes and we see this initiative as another productive way to ensure this occurs.” Mr. Bidwell said.

Housing Industry Association Queensland Executive Director Warwick Temby said the initiative fitted well with the association’s Greensmart Program that has been promoting good site management practices for more than 20 years.

“As the industry strives to meet the housing needs of Queenslanders it makes sense that we also focus on ways to ensure the industry has a neutral impact on the surrounding environment.” Mr. Temby said.

Healthy Waterways Chair Dr. Paul Greenfield, who is also Director of the Great Barrier Reef Foundation, said the initiative was an important step in further protecting coastal waterways and the reef.

“We’ve long known that our activities on land have a dramatic flow-on affect on the health of our waterways, and the many social and economic benefits they provide to local communities.”

“The results of the latest SEQ Healthy Waterways Report Card further highlighted the need to accelerate our efforts in reducing sediment run-off in urban areas.” Dr. Greenfield said.

“These online tools were developed utilising Healthy Waterways best practice guidance materials and expertise to empower local councils and the building industry to implement effective erosion and sediment control, and reduce run-off from urban building sites.”

“This will go a long way in helping improve the reef’s resilience so it can recover from disturbances such as the latest coral bleaching event.” Dr. Greenfield said.

Dr. Miles said EHP’s urban erosion and sediment program was yet another example of the Queensland Government delivering on its actions under the Reef 2050 Long-Term Sustainability Plan.

“We agreed to implement best practice stormwater management for new development in coastal catchments and help local government and industry to improve water quality management in urban areas.” Dr. Miles said.

“All industries need to do their part in protecting our waterways and we are helping the development industry to do theirs.”

“EHP will work closely with the Reef Urban Stormwater Management Improvement Group in delivering the workshops and towards improved water quality from urban development under the Reef 2050 Long-Term Sustainability Plan.” Dr. Miles said.