Environment Sector’s Scorecard On Queensland’s State Election Policies

Scorecard of the Four Major Parties

*Joint Statement and scorecard from organisations listed below:
Queensland Conservation Council, Australian Conservation Foundation, The Wilderness Society, WWF-Australia, Australian Marine Conservation Society, Australian Rainforest Conservation Society, Wildlife Preservation Society of Queensland, National Parks Association (Queensland), Friends of the Earth (Brisbane), Cairns and Far North Environment Centre, North Queensland Conservation Council, Mackay Conservation Group, Capricorn Conservation Council, Wide Bay Burnett Environment Council, Sunshine Coast Environment Council, Gecko-Gold Coast and Hinterland Environment Council, Logan and Albert Conservation Association, Fraser Island Defenders Organisation, Householders’ Options to Protect the Environment (HOPE), Alliance to Save Hinchinbrook (ASH), Gladstone Conservation Council.

‘In our view, both major parties at this election are failing to meet their obligations on the regulation of mining and coal seam gas,’ said Toby Hutcheon, Executive Director of Queensland Conservation (representing Queensland environment organisations).

‘The environment is Queensland greatest economic and social asset and should be protected and sustained. This is a matter of fact, whatever your politics happens to be. ‘The fate of Queensland hinges on this key issue – how do you run a resource economy without threatening agriculture, groundwater, local communities and essential environments such as the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area?  ‘‘It’s a question that neither major party appears able to answer.’ said Hutcheon.

The Greens, Labor and LNP provided written answers to the questionnaire. Bob Katter’s Australian Party did not respond at all. Whilst Labor provided significantly more detail, both Labor and the LNP did not directly answer all questions, choosing to answer some questions and not others. With the exception of the Greens, no party has a convincing set of environment policies.

Labor has committed to more nature and special place protection and the LNP to less.

Both major parties missed the boat on regulating mining and coal seam gas and have been playing catch-up ever since. Neither is convincing that they have policies to protect land, water, environment and community from these industrial threats. The Greens and Katter’s Australian Party provide far stronger policy positions.

The future of the Reef is close to the heart of most Queenslanders. We are the ‘custodians’ of the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area and are obliged to protect the values of the reef. The reef could become classified as World Heritage ‘in danger’ due to the impacts of the resources boom. Both major parties have been slow to act on this. To be fair to Labor they have now supported a comprehensive Strategic Assessment. Only the Greens have supported a moratorium on major new development that affects the reef.

Coastal zone protection, particularly from the threat of sea level rise and storm surge is a significant issue of community safety. Even so, it remains as a point of difference between the major parties; Labor delivered a Coastal Plan to protect vulnerable land and the LNP now promising to review it.

‘The tit-for-tat approach of the two major parties makes essential environmental protection policy a political football rather than being a fundamental platform upon which our society depends. Without a healthy environment there is no economy and there is no liveable community.’ said Mr Hutcheon. “For a party seeking to be the next Government of Queensland, the LNP seem to have little vision for a better future for the environment. In many cases, environmental policy is focused on undoing good Labor policy (Wild Rivers), mimicking policies (Coal Seam Gas) or being silent on the big issues (Reef Strategic Assessment)”.

‘At the end of a very long election campaign, voters are none the wiser about the intentions of the next State Government on a number of important questions. Will rural landholders have their land and water protected? Will the people of Gladstone have a healthier harbour? How will the reef be protected from the massive resources boom? Will Queensland have a more resilient and healthier environment? Will Queensland build a future around clean and safe energy?’

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