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Law Reform · Nature & the Reef

Have your say: Qld’s proposed ‘Special Wildlife Reserves’

05 March, 2018

Submissions are due this Wednesday 4pm, 7 March 2018 on the Nature Conservation (Special Wildlife Reserves) and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2018.

The bill proposes a new system under the Nature Conservation Act 1992 (Qld) for landholders on privately owned or managed land to have an area with exceptional natural and cultural resources and values declared as a ‘special wildlife reserve’. The bill proposed to provide declared special wildlife reserves with protection in perpetuity from other incompatible land uses, including mining, commercial grazing and forest harvesting.

In order to seek a declaration of a special wildlife reserve under the legislation, a conservation agreement will need to be voluntarily entered into between a landholder, the State and other relevant parties with an interest in the land. A conservation agreement will not impact the rights and/or interests of other relevant parties, including Native Title holders, without consent. Following this, the area may be declared by regulation to be a special wildlife reserve.

EDO Qld supports the increase in protected areas in Queensland through options for private property owners to better protect their land.

However, we recommend that:

  • the conservation interest of the site is given clear, legislated priority against considerations of the ‘State interest’ which may inappropriately favour resource interests over unique environmental values of a site (amend s43A). Without very strong provision in legislation favouring strong weighting of environmental protection, economic considerations have consistently been given more weight by decision makers;
  • provide that special wildlife reserves, along with all protected areas under the Nature Conservation Act 1992, must be protected from:

    o   all grazing, not just commercial grazing – this is highly inappropriate of protected areas and destructive of the environmental values of an area;

    o   ecotourism that compromises the environmental values of the protected area – there are enough areas adjacent to protected areas to allow close access and services without needing to develop the protected areas themselves; and

    o   petroleum pipelines, which can compromise and compartmentalise national parks in their construction and maintenance and may go around these areas; and
  • possible conflicts with indigenous / native title interests are clarified and avoided.

It is important that this new reserve type is also resourced sufficiently to ensure good management of the land as a public asset, and does not detract from investment in expanding and better managing our national park estates.

Get your submissions in on this bill by this Wednesday 7 March 2018 to one of the following options:

Email: itdec@parliament.qld.gov.au

Committee Secretary
Innovation, Tourism Development and Environment Committee
Parliament House
George Street
Brisbane  Qld  4000

Environmental Defenders Office Queensland (EDO Qld) gives a strong legal voice to the environment when needed most.

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