Queensland Premier Campbell Newman
Premier Promises Protection For Reef
Victor P Taffa
The Queensland Government will undertake a ‘strategic assessment’ of the Great Barrier Reef to ensure coastal development is planned properly and doesn’t compromise environmental standards.
Premier Campbell Newman said the State Government wanted to strike the right balance between environmental protection and ensuring sustainable development could still occur in coastal areas.
“A key component of the LNP’s plan to grow a four pillar economy is the resources sector and we are focussed on supporting and growing this industry. However, we are also determined to protect the environment and the Great Barrier Reef for future generations to enjoy.” Premier Newman said.
“We will achieve this through the strategic assessment process that will enable us to more thoroughly plan development next to the Great Barrier Reef so we can minimise environment impacts.”
“That doesn’t rule out future coastal development, but it does mean that development must be undertaken with one eye on the state’s future prosperity and another on preservation of the reef.” Premier Newman said.
As part of the strategic assessment process, the Queensland Government will:
• Prepare a ports strategy for the Great Barrier Reef;
• Refine the Coastal Plan that includes the protection of areas of high ecological significance;
• Develop Statutory Regional Plans to better manage land use issues;
• Conduct a review of the environmental offsets required of developments to ensure funds derived from the Great Barrier Reef region are used to tackle the most significant issues facing the reef.
Premier Newman said the strategic assessment would be undertaken over the next 12 months and wouldn’t delay any existing approved projects.
“The strategic assessment will take a broad view of all current impacts on the reef and how the potential impacts of future development can be avoided, mitigated or offset.” Premier Newman said.
“A strategic assessment should also help minimise duplication of approvals and give more certainty to the industry.”
“I stress, we’re not going to hold back the economic development of Queensland, but we are going to make sure that we protect the environment as these new projects come forward.”
Premier Newman said the Queensland Government recognised the national and international importance of the reef, and was committed to working with the Commonwealth to ensure this iconic landmark was preserved.
“The strategic assessment will be an opportunity for Queensland to show the world that we are at the forefront of best practice environmental planning and to demonstrate that we have rigorous systems in place to protect the Great Barrier Reef now and into the future.” Premier Newman said.