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Biodiversity and Environment Policy

Principles

The Queensland Greens believe that:
  1. Climate change is the greatest threat to the biodiversity of the planet, exacerbated by habitat loss and fragmentation and the spread of invasive species.
  2. Biodiversity, ecosystems and ecosystem processes maintain Earth’s life support systems, including the climate system.
  3. The protection and conservation of biodiversity is essential for the wellbeing of all life on Earth, including human life.
  4. The loss of Queensland's unique biodiversity poses an unacceptable threat to human and ecosystem health, and dramatically reduces our ability to cope with major ecological threats such as climate change.
  5. Protected areas and vegetation are vital to the preservation of Queensland’s biodiversity, and therefore to the health and wellbeing of all Queenslanders.

Goals

The Queensland Greens want:
  1. Queensland’s biological diversity (at the ecosystem, species and genetic level) to be maintained.
  2. A comprehensive, adequate and representative system of terrestrial, freshwater and marine protected areas (MPAs), including all remaining areas of high conservation value (including regrowth), managed primarily to protect biodiversity and ensure resilience in the face of climate change.
  3. Effective habitat management, including ecologically appropriate use of fire.
  4. Protection from accidental or deliberate introduction of exotic plants, animals and organisms which pose a threat to Queensland’s biodiversity, agriculture or human health.
  5. Protection, restoration and extension of the habitats of Queensland’s native animals including marine and riverine species.

    Measures

    The Queensland Greens will:
    1. Develop a state biodiversity strategy underpinned by legislation and an adequately funded implementation and enforcement program, to protect and build the resilience of Queensland ecosystems to climate change.
    2. Conduct integrated natural resource management mapping for all Queensland catchments.
    3. Promote the preparation of property scale plans to assist landholders to understand and implement their natural resource legislative obligations.
    4. Develop an ecosystem services payment framework which provides stewardship payments to land owners who manage their properties to deliver tangible environmental outcomes which generate wider public benefit.
    5. In consultation with indigenous communities, develop a binding state-wide fire management framework which contains regionally appropriate fire management practices that enhance biodiversity outcomes.
    6. Increase the annual budgets of the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Natural Resources and Water.

    Protected areas

    1. Amend the Nature Conservation Act 1992 to:
        1. identify and protect ecological communities;
        2. protect the habitat of threatened species;
        3. recognise Indigenous Protected Areas; and
        4. prohibit all mining and petroleum exploration and extractive activities in all protected areas, including nature refuges.
    2. Protect Queensland’s wildlife and natural places from climate change by expanding the protected area estate (including privately protected land) 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.
    3. Annually increase the budget for protected area (including national parks, Indigenous Protected Areas and nature refuges on private land) creation and management by 10% until 2020, to keep pace with growth in the protected area estate and the rising costs of management given climate change.
    4. Ensure that management plans for all National Parks are developed, adequately funded and implemented.
    5. Ensure joint management of all Queensland national parks with indigenous communities by 2015.

    Vegetation

    1. Amend the Vegetation Management Act 1999 to protect endangered, of concern and high conservation value regrowth vegetation, all remnant vegetation in urban areas, and vegetation in riparian and wildlife corridors. Provide structural adjustment to landowners adversely affected by these amendments.
    2. Provide appropriate resources for compliance programs and enforcement (including strategic prosecutions) for all natural resource legislation, especially for illegal clearing.
    3. Reform the Vegetation Management Act 1999 to place greater emphasis on the carbon sequestration potential of vegetation, to encourage deep cuts in greenhouse emissions consistent with the Greens Climate and Energy policy.
    4. Disallow offsets for clearing of endangered or of concern remnant vegetation.

    Mining

    1. Legislate to prohibit the mining and exploration of uranium.
    2. Ensure that all mining activities in Queensland are subject to the Vegetation Management Act 1999.
    3. Develop clear, binding best practice standards for rehabilitating mined lands.

    World Heritage

    1. Introduce dedicated World Heritage legislation that provides the highest level of protection for all World Heritage sites in Queensland against threatening activities.
    2. In cooperation with the federal government, ensure adequate funding is provided to maintain all of Queensland’s World Heritage Areas.

    Rivers and Water

    1. Prohibit the construction of new large-scale dams on Queensland rivers (including the Logan and Mary Rivers) or new water infrastructure in over-allocated systems. Provide effective fish passage at priority existing barriers.
    2. Introduce and enforce laws to regulate run-off from urban, agricultural and industrial development.
    3. Establish sustainability targets for degraded water bodies.
    4. Amend the Integrated Planning Act 1997 to ensure watercourses are given appropriate protection in local planning schemes or state regional plans.
    5. Set sustainable limits of water extraction in accordance with future climate change scenarios, and give precedence to environmental flow requirements over consumptive uses in water planning decisions.
    6. Support rural water use efficiency (drip irrigation systems, piping of open irrigation channel system) and promote less water intensive crops; in stressed systems return savings to the environment. Buy back sleeper licences in over-allocated systems.
    7. Accelerate bore-capping and channel piping in the Great Artesian Basin.
    8. Declare the remaining 13 of the first 19 wild rivers identified for protection by the Queensland Government in February 2004. Nominate further rivers throughout the state which meet the criteria for listing as wild rivers.
    9. Establish a fund allocating at least $2 million for the protection and management of each declared Wild River, including the employment of indigenous rangers.
    10. Reform the Wild Rivers Act 2005 to allow the public to nominate a river for Wild River protection.
    11. Commit additional resources to support genuine consultation and engagement with Traditional Owner groups and other stakeholders during and after the Wild River declaration process.

    Coastal management

    1. Amend the State and Regional Coastal Management Plans to include climate change mitigation and adaptation strategies.
    2. Amend the Integrated Planning Act to require Councils and state decision makers to adhere to State and Regional Coastal Management Plans, rather than merely “have regard to” them.
    3. Oppose the construction of new canal estates in Queensland.

    Marine

    1. Introduce and enforce laws to regulate run-off from urban, agricultural and industrial development, particularly in sensitive catchment areas starting with Great Barrier Reef catchments with a goal of reducing pollution loads to the Reef by 50% within 4 years.
    2. Re-instate monthly estuarine monitoring for all areas of Queensland.
    3. Establish a network of marine protected areas across the entire coast of Queensland within 5 years, with at least 30% green (no-take) zones. Ensure adversely affected commercial fishers receive appropriate recompense for the buy-out of their licences.
    4. Develop a water quality protection plan for all coastal catchments, based on the Reef Water Quality Protection Plan principles.
    5. Increase funding for existing marine park management and planning.
    6. Introduce a saltwater recreational fishing licence to Queensland state waters, with funds raised to be used for recreational fisheries management, research and education.
    7. Ban shark fishing in the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area immediately and in all Queensland fisheries by 2013, providing structural reform for affected operators.
    8. Develop a State Planning Policy with strict environmental and site suitability criteria for the location and operation of all aquaculture, giving three years for existing operators to meet the new environmental standards. Allow community appeal rights against the grant of new aquaculture approvals.
    9. Expand the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park to include the Coral Sea, and exclude future oil and gas exploration in the Coral Sea.

    Wetlands

    1. Regulate to stop the further destruction of wetlands by restricting development within wetlands and imposing buffer zones for damaging activities.
    2. Promote the rehabilitation and sustainable use of Queensland’s remaining wetlands through education and financial incentive schemes.
    3. Where viable, remove or modify structures impeding tidal flow in areas which were once wetlands, to restore wetland functioning and habitat.

    Weeds and Invasive Species

    1. Strengthen the legislation for protection against and management of invasive species, and adequately fund implementation programs.
    2. Implement effective control programs for established invasive species at the landholder, bioregional and state level.
    3. Adopt a precautionary approach to the use of new exotic species, requiring a risk assessment before a species can be introduced.
    4. Prohibit the use of exotic species in ponded pastures and cease the stocking of non-native fish species in storages.

    Cape York

    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 suitable areas of Cape York Peninsula.
    2. Increase funding for indigenous rangers and ensure genuine joint management of protected areas on Cape York Peninsula between traditional owners and Qld Parks and Wildlife.
    3. Provide funds to support Indigenous land, sea and conservation management on Aboriginal lands and grants to support training programs, business development initiatives and employment programs for Indigenous people in the land management sector.
    4. Support sustainable economic development by indigenous peoples in the Cape and the Gulf.
    5. Provide $10 million to continue the voluntarily acquisition of high conservation lands on Cape York Peninsula for the return of homelands to Traditional Owners and conservation outcomes.

    Forestry and Leasehold Land

    1. Continue to facilitate the transition of Queensland’s native hardwood timber industry to a plantation base.
    2. Amend the Freehold Land Forest Practice Code to prohibit native rainforest logging.
    3. Increase the capacity for processing recycled timber in Queensland.
    4. Apply conditions to leases that incorporate principles of ecologically sustainable development, are subject to regular monitoring for compliance and carry effective penalties for non-compliance.
    5. 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.
    6. Maintain the existing South East Queensland Regional Forest Agreement in its entirety.

    Animal Welfare

    1. Increase funding for RSPCA to care for animals and for investigations and prosecutions into animal cruelty.
    2. Increase the penalties for animal cruelty offences.
    3. Provide information on animal welfare to new pet owners at point of sale.
    4. Subsidise compulsory de-sexing of domestic animals, unless licensed for breeding.
    5. In accordance with the Queensland Greens Agriculture and Natural Resource Management policy, legislate to phase out battery cages, feedlots and the use of antibiotics in animal husbandry. Provide transitional assistance to affected farmers.

    Waste and Noxious Industries

    1. Ensure all new noxious industries are sited away from residential communities and relocate existing noxious industries (including at Narangba) away from residential communities.
    2. Reduce the use of hazardous materials in industrial processes by supporting the adoption of superior processes and materials.
    3. Establish specialised collection programs to separate and capture material (including green waste and electronic waste) before it enters the general waste stream.
    4. Develop product stewardship frameworks for specific products in consultation with Industry and Consumer groups.

     

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