EDO Qld is advocating that former wild river preservation areas (now amongst ‘strategic environment areas’) deserve stronger protection than is provided for in the Regional Planning Interests Regulation 2014. The process for amending strategic environment areas (SEAs) also remains uncertain.
Earlier this year the Queensland Parliament passed the Regional Planning Interests Act 2014 (Qld). The Act was introduced in an attempt to manage land use conflicts between mining and petroleum activities on one hand, and agriculture, urban living, and environmental areas on the other hand – but only for specified areas in Queensland. These areas are called ‘regional interest areas’, and include SEAs. Read more about our submissions on the Act here.
The Regulation came into force on 13 June 2014. A Parliamentary Committee is now considering the Regulation, which is responsible for determining which areas are protected as SEAs and the process for determining these areas. The regulation has failed to provide appropriate protection to SEAs, including former wild rivers areas.
EDO Qld raised these issues in submissions on the regulation:
- Lack of transparency in amending maps for SEAs – including former wild river preservation areas.
- SEAs and designated precincts not strongly protected from ‘unacceptable uses’
- No requirement to publicly notify or allow the public to make submissions on Strategic Environmental Areas
- Important safeguards from corruption are missing with no public interest appeal rights
EDO Qld’s submission echoes other group’s concerns in pointing out that there is no clear process for declaring and amending areas of Regional Interest – such as Strategic Environmental Areas and Strategic Cropping Areas.