Law Reform ·

Lack of Transparency for Strategic Environmental Areas (Wild Rivers)

16 October, 2014

New Act does not provide adequate protection, as there are no prohibitions on resource activities in these sensitive areas.

The Wild Rivers Act 2005 (Qld), which protected some of Queensland’s most sensitive and important catchments, was recently repealed, leaving the Regional Planning Interests Act 2014 (Qld) in its place. Under the new legislation, Strategic Environmental Areas (SEAs) have replaced wild river areas.

The new Act does not provide adequate protection, as there are no prohibitions on resource activities in these sensitive areas.

The new Act also does not allow public notification or appeal rights for resource activities in the SEAs. EDO Qld has previously made detailed submissions (available here) to the Queensland Parliament setting out how the processes for protecting Queensland’s most sensitive rivers have been weakened.

Importantly, the Regional Planning Interests Regulation does not require a change in the mapping of SEAs declared by a regulation to be publicly notified, consulted, or commented upon. There is also no parliamentary scrutiny of any changes. This is out of step with other planning instruments, such as Regional Plans.[1]

Read EDO Qld’s supplementary submission on the Regional Planning Interests Regulation 2014 (Qld) here.


[1] Sustainable Planning Act 2009 (Qld), s 70.

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

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