Campbell Newman Claims Koala Listing As Unnecessary Green Tape For Developers
May 11, 2012
Queensland Premier Campbell Newman and the Urban Development Institute of Australia have made some blatantly ignorant comments regarding the koalas threatened species listing as unnecessary green tape that will inhibit development activities without looking at the facts. He has also promised a funding to be allocated for koala conservation (which we assume he has to deliver).
KOALA LISTING ANOTHER EXAMPLE OF GOVERNMENT ‘GREENTAPE’, SAYS CAMPBELL NEWMAN
by: Ben Packham From: The Australian April 30, 2012 5:01PM
Best of Queensland – Queensland Premier Campbell Newman says listing koalas as an endangered species is another example of government green tape.
THE inclusion of koalas on the nation’s list of threatened species has been condemned as a fresh example of federal government “green tape” by Queensland Premier Campbell Newman.
He said the announcement threatened Queensland jobs, just a fortnight after Julia Gillard vowed to streamline environmental approvals, would cost jobs in the state’s construction industry.
“The federal government says one thing, and then goes and does another,” he said.
“And it’s more needless duplication, it’s more mindless green tape, it’s more delay and obstruction from Canberra, and I just ask the Prime Minister to go and have a long hard look at what her government (is) trying to achieve because this is counter to what she announced to the nation only a few weeks ago.”
Federal Environment Minister Tony Burke said koala populations in Queensland, NSW and the ACT would be listed as vulnerable under national environmental laws.
“Koalas are an iconic Australian animal and they hold a special place in the community,” he said. said.
“People have made it very clear to me that they want to make sure the koala is protected for future generations.”
He said the decision followed rigorous scientific assessment by the Threatened Species Scientific Committee, which had gathered information from koala experts over the past three years.
Koala populations across the nation were declining, he said, with the populations in some states faring worse than others.
He said the koalas in Queensland, NSW and the ACT were “very clearly in trouble”.
Mr Newman said he was concerned the change would slow development in the state.
“As soon as I heard about this, I immediately was very, very worried,” he said.
“Not for developers, but I was worried for the carpenters and joiners, the sparkies, the plumbers, the concreters – the people who have been in the industry who have been doing it tough.”
Mr Newman said koalas were already well protected in Queensland and if the federal government wanted to do more to protect the animals, it should have approached the state government to come up with a plan.
The Urban Development Institute of Australia (UDIA) says the listing of koalas as a threatened species in Queensland will create unnecessary delays for developers.
The Federal Government has listed koala populations in Queensland, New South Wales and the ACT as vulnerable, under national environment laws.
UDIA Queensland chief executive officer Brian Stewart says it has the potential to cause major delays for developers by a further level of unnecessary checking of developer applications at the Federal Government level.
“They could be quite profound,” he said.
“The Commonwealth Government already has a number of species throughout the country that are endangered.
“In some places, the mechanisms to provide a level of protection are very comprehensive, so the application may be delayed for six months or 12 months even while negotiations go on.
Yesterday, Queensland Premier Campbell Newman said the listing of koalas as a threatened species would add unnecessary green tape.
Mr Newman says the Federal Government’s decision is at odds with the Government’s previous commitment to reduce regulations, and existing state protection could simply have been improved.
“It’s more needless duplication, it’s more mindless green tape, it’s more delay and obstruction by Canberra,” Mr Newman said.
“I just ask the Prime Minister to go and have a long hard look at what her Government are trying to achieve, because this is counter to what she announced to the nation only a few weeks ago.”
Meanwhile, Central Queensland University koala researcher Dr Alistair Melzer says national laws to protect the native animal are much needed in mining regions.
Dr Melzer says mining companies and big developers should take notice of the ruling.
“In terms of rehabilitation of disturbed landscape – post-mining landscapes,” he said.
“But also in terms of fitting their infrastructure with measures to protect koalas from say being run over on the roads, injured by trains and other infrastructure as well.”
Sunshine Coast Environment Council spokesman Wiebe ter Bals says he has mixed feelings about the listing.
“I feel really double about it because on the one hand it’s great that we’re getting more serious about protecting this species and the listing gives us greater power under core environment legislation – both at state and national level to try and protect the species and its habitat,” he said.
“Sad – because it had to come to this – the fact that it’s now listed as vulnerable means that we’re losing a species and that’s not a good thing.”