Media Releases · Energy & Climate

Last Cassowaries might starve in the wake of Cyclone Larry

28 March, 2006

"Cyclone Larry devastated the rainforest canopy near Mission Beach, North Queensland. This means the last remaining cassowaries are at risk of starvation. Urgent action is needed to address this issue," says Kirsty Ruddock Solicitor of EDO Northern Queensland. 

Minister Desley Boyle is currently conducting a review of Queensland’s planning legislation, the Integrated Planning Act.

Jo-Anne Bragg is an experienced planning and environmental solicitor at the Environmental Defenders Office which has provided advice to community environmental groups on environmental and planning matters for nearly 20 years.

Ms Bragg said today:

Cassowaries depend on rainforest fruits to survive. Kirsty Ruddock Solicitor of EDO Northern Queensland advises that Cyclone Larry devastated the rainforest canopy near Mission Beach, North Queensland. This means the last remaining cassowaries are at risk of starvation. Urgent action is needed to address this issue.

While cyclones have occurred periodically over the years, climate change will lead to increased risk of cyclones and more intense cyclones. On top of this, the effects of cyclones are made worse by loss of mangroves and coastal overdevelopment. Where are our State’s policies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and therefore climate change? We have none.

And where are our State planning policies to protect cassowaries and biodiversity from habitat destruction? We have none. Minister Boyle’s review of our planning legislation needs to ask: what are the environmental outcomes of our current planning system? How can we address the vacuum of State policies on serious issues like Climate change and cassowary habitat?

For the sake of the last cassowaries, and to reduce repeats of Cyclone Larry, we urge Minister Boyle:

  • do not focus exclusively on process issues in the planning review; and
  • ensure the planning system addresses environmental and ecological outcomes for Queensland.