Australia: Ministers, Conservation Groups Discuss Gladstone Harbour Project
Queensland’s Deputy Premier Jeff Seeney welcomed the chance to engage with conservation groups at the Ministerial Environmental Roundtable this morning.
Mr Seeney addressed the group before taking part in a question and answer session with representatives from a range of interest groups including the Queensland Conservation Council, Sunshine Coast Environment Council, National Parks Association and the Environmental Defenders Office.
“We are a Government that was unashamedly elected on the platform of economic development, but we will do it in a way that respects the environment and delivers the best possible environmental outcomes for Queensland,” Mr Seeney said.
“There can be a degree of conflict between development and planning and the environment but we always want to find the right balance between them, so it’s crucial that we have a close working relationship with these groups.
“As long as Environment Minister Andrew Powell and I are involved, there will always be a close interaction between my department and the Department of Environment and Heritage Protection (EHP).”
Mr Seeney was questioned on a range of issues including protection of the Great Barrier Reef, CSG regulation, regional planning, development at Abbot Point and negotiations involving the Caloundra South project.
He said the Newman Government was working on establishing a number of regional plans and assured conservation groups that their concerns, and those of the communities involved, would be taken into account as those plans were developed.
“We want to see the Co-ordinator General bring together the many departments that will work to deliver our objectives, and we want to see EHP given the status it should have as a strong environmental watchdog,” Mr Seeney said.
The two-day roundtable was hosted by Minister for Environment and Heritage Protection Andrew Powell, who addressed the group yesterday.
Minister Powell said the Deputy Premier’s involvement in the roundtable highlighted the Newman Government’s commitment to balancing economic growth with environmental protection.
“It was a great opportunity for these groups to hear first-hand from the Deputy Premier that Queensland’s economic growth will not come at the cost of environmental protection,” Mr Powell said.
“I fully support the Government’s commitment to economic development and will pursue a strong relationship between our departments to deliver the best outcomes for Queensland.”
Dredging Today Staff, July 25, 2012; Image: westernbasinportdevelopment