Law Reform · Access to Justice

State Government needs to move quickly to reinstate vegetation management laws

24 June, 2015

EDO Qld have been standing up for more effective controls on land clearing and working with The Wilderness Society to stop the shocking bulldozer and chain clearing at Olive Vale station on Cape York Peninsula.

Last week the Wilderness Society cautiously welcomed news that a massive land clearing operation had been temporarily halted. This pause followed inspections by state and federal environment department officials, as well as extensive media coverage of the devastating clearing.  EDO Qld assisted the Wilderness Society with pressing officials to act.

It is understood that the landholder is now “voluntarily referring” the matter to the Federal Department of Environment, under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation (EPBC) Act.

The clearing at Olive Vale was only possible because of changes to the Vegetation Management Act by LNP in 2013. 

The new state government has accepted that the permit for clearing at Olive Vale was improperly granted under state law, but has failed to stop the clearing and appropriately refer it the federal government.

“The pause in clearing has only happened because of the work of conservation groups and the media,” said Dr Tim Seelig, The Wilderness Society Queensland Campaign Manager.

“We remain frustrated that Federal Environment Minister Greg Hunt been sitting on his hands rather than using his powers to shut this clearing down for good. We alerted his department about the issues at Olive Vale in early March, and again in April, May and June.

“There are threatened species on the property which should have triggered a federal process to assess impacts but this did not happen. He effectively allowed the clearing to continue himself.

“Now, finally, there will be an assessment under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act, but today’s announcement is an embarrassment to Minister Hunt and his department,” he said.

The Queensland Government needs to move quickly to reinstate strong land clearing controls across the state, as it promised in the recent state election. 

Help us put pressure on the state government to meet their pre-election promise to reinstate vegetation management laws by making a donation to: www.edoqld.org.au/donate

You can also sign the Wilderness Society's petition to 'Stop the Dozers' here.

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

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