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No Honours For Queenland's World Heritage Areas in This Report Card.

Last week, the Queensland Government released the State of Environment report for the 2012 to 2015 period, with concerning results.

The Report is available at: https://www.ehp.qld.gov.au/state-of-the- environment/subtheme/?id=world

The report clearly sets out the pressure that our World Heritage Areas are under, from climate change, invasive species and tourism. Other vital concerns highlighted within the report are the additions to threatened, vulnerable or extinct species lists, and shows that Queensland is the largest source of emissions. 

This would a good opportunity for the various departments of the Paluszczuk Government to start working together for the long term sustainability of Queensland’s natural heritage and biodiversity, rather than taking actions that would suggest we have one government going in two completely different directions with counterproductive agendas.

Dr Steven Miles Minister for Environment and Heritage Protection, National Parks and The Great Barrier Reef is pledging millions of taxpayers dollars on some great initiatives, projects and research to improve the water quality of the reef. He has also been quoted as saying that the current rate of tree and native vegetation clearing in Queensland is having a significant impact on our species, habitat, erosion and sediment issues for the reef.  The Palaszczuk Government recently lost a hard fought battle to amend the previous Government’s Land Clearing and Vegetation Management laws.

In contradiction to these measures the government will fill the Treasury’s coffers after the Minister for State Development and Minister for Natural Resources and Mines Anthony Lynham declared the private foreign-owned Adani Carmichael coal mine and the associated water pipeline, rail and port projects. critical infrastructure” and a “prescribed project” in order to create jobs and help achieve economic growth.

These declarations give the Coordinator-General (a government employee) extraordinary powers to speed up and take control of the approvals still required for the contentious massive mine.

 http://statements.qld.gov.au/Statement/2016/10/9/queensland-government-steps-up-to-progress - adani-mine-project

This coal mine will be largest coal mine in Australia’s history, which, along with the pipeline, rail and port development is going to add to those devastating land clearing statistics, and extract thousands of gigalites of water from the Great Artesian Basin. The mining, transportation and burning of the coal will emit the equivalent of 4.7 gigatonnes of CO2 into the atmosphere over the life of the mine. Millions of dollars are being spent on reef water quality, whilst ignoring the fact that climate change is the bigger threat and the reason that the reef is facing its biggest bleaching event to date.

It cannot be claimed that supporting fossil fuel projects to create jobs and economic growth is beneficial for Queensland when just as many, if not more, jobs dependant on the tourism and hospitality industries associated with the reef and other protected areas will be lost as they lose their World Heritage status and are no longer worthy of attracting tourists from around the world. Nor can Queensland claim these projects are not contributing to the greenhouse gases causing the oceans temperatures to rise because it is intended that the coal will be exported and burnt elsewhere. 

References:

Courier Mail 13th October
The Guardian
Department of Environment and Heritage Protection www.ehp.qld.gov.au Queensland Government media statements www.statements.qld.gov.au

Environmental Defenders Office QLD http://www.edoqld.org.au/news/adanis-contentious- private-mining-development-fast-tracked-as-critical-infrastructure/