chainsaws back in Queensland

To: Greg Roberts <>
Subject: chainsaws back in Queensland
From: "Valentine, Peter" <>
Date: Tue, 14 May 2013 01:24:13 +0000
Thanks for posting Greg - it is a serious matter for all of us. A group of 
senior Queensland scientists first wrote to the Premier but then made a public 
statement of concern yesterday. You can see the text and other material here:

In northern Queensland we are urging our Birdlife members to write to their own 
State member of Parliament to draw attention to the concerns. WWF scientist 
Martin Taylor has estimated the possible outcomes of this proposed amendment of 
existing legislation and he indicates as much as 2 million ha of bushland could 
be affected as well as potentially 85,000 km of riparian vegetation that will 
lose its protection through changes in the Water Act. You can see the report 

Dr Taylor estimated 31 species of threatened bird species would have habitat 
affected. It is telling that the Queensland Government has allowed so little 
time for comment and community engagement on this matter along with rushed 
processes on a number of other environmental concerns (getting rid of "red 
tape" which means rolling back environmental protection).

It is suspected this environmental vandalism is being driven by a few 
throwbacks to the Joh era and perhaps if those of us concerned could lobby more 
enlightened members of the Government to put a halt to these proposals it may 
be effective.  It may also be time for the Federal Government to consider 
stepping in. Unfortunately there are limited grounds for this to happen. 

It is very sad that Queensland, the State with our greatest biodiversity, has 
less land than any other state in protected areas (Qld has 5%of the states area 
and shrinking while the average across Australia is 12% and the target for 2020 
is 17% of terrestrial habitat - under the Convention on Biodiversity). 
Admittedly a simple percentage in protected areas is not necessarily an 
adequate measure, but the extent to which habitat variation is protected is a 
good indicator of likely biodiversity conservation. 

I am afraid I can find no good news to end this post.

Peter Valentine
(Conservation Officer, Birdlife Townsville)

0427 634 136

On 14/05/2013, at 10:26 AM, Greg Roberts <>

> I would hope that as lovers of birds and other wildlife, we should be deeply
> concerned about what is happening under the Campbell Newman-led Liberal
> National Party in Queensland. A series of recent moves by the Government
> demonstrates just what is at stake here.
> The Government has boasted that it will "take an axe" to state laws
> protecting native vegetation on private and leased lands from being cleared.
> The laws were enacted by the previous Labor Government in response to
> revelations that hundreds of thousands of hectares of native vegetation were
> being cleared annually, contributing greatly to greenhouse gas emissions and
> seriously threatening biodiversity, especially across vulnerable woodlands
> inland. Now, landholders need do nothing more than present a "business plan"
> for properties and they can bulldoze what they want.
> The former Labor Government in its final years acted to lock up some
> important natural areas as national park, such as the expanded Mapleton
> National Park in the Sunshine Coast hinterland - a lovely, bird-rich area of
> rainforest, wet sclerophyll and open forest. The new Government is reviewing
> all park declarations made since 2002 and has made it clear that most will
> be revoked. The protection of national parks is supposed to be set in stone,
> otherwise there is no point in having them. Queensland already has one of
> the smallest national park estates in the country on a per capita basis - it
> is about to shrink further, and in the process the sanctity of national
> parks will be ditched.
> Logging and other damaging activities were removed from extensive areas of
> state forest and other forested areas by the former Labor Government. Those
> lands have been reopened to the developers and logging licences are being
> issued to anyone who wants one. One new licence covers one of the few
> remaining areas of rainforest frequented by the Eungella Honeyeater.
> The new Government is revoking Labor's historic legislation protecting the
> catchment of pristine wild rivers on Cape York and in the Channel Country of
> south-west Queensland. It will move to stymie the planned World Heritage
> declaration of Cape York and has vowed to open up Cape York - one of the
> nation's last great wildernesses - to developers.
> This depressing list goes on and on. Funding to help members of the
> community challenge bad environmental planning decisions in the courts has
> been stopped. Environmental responsibilities have been split among three
> departments - with ultra-conservative National Party ministers (in a
> government that is supposedly part-Liberal) running the show. Even the
> former Bjelke-Petersen National Party Government would not tolerate what
> Premier Campbell Newman (who is supposedly a Liberal) is up to. Despite all
> his faults, Joh kept a leash on some of the more rabid environmental
> wreckers in the Nationals' rank. Now it is open slather.
> Greg Roberts 
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