The Queensland Government has welcomed Commonwealth endorsement of the state’s long-term plan to preserve the Great Barrier Reef.
Deputy Premier and Minister for State Development, Infrastructure and Planning Jeff Seeney said the Federal Government approval recognizes Queensland’s planning and development framework is effective in protecting the Great Barrier Reef, while ensuring the continued prosperity of Queensland communities.
“I’m pleased to say that the Federal Environment Minister has endorsed our final strategic assessment of the Great Barrier Reef coastal zone, which demonstrates that reef protection and economic development can, and do, co-exist,” Mr Seeney said.
“At the election we promised to deliver better planning and the Great Barrier Reef strategic assessment provides a sustainable plan to better manage development along the coastal zone and build on the strengths of our coastal communities like Cairns, Townsville, Mackay and Port Douglas.
“Today’s decision by the Federal Government reaffirms our view that we can preserve the unique environmental values of the reef while growing our economy and creating jobs for Queenslanders.”
Minister for Environment and Heritage Protection Andrew Powell said the strategic assessment, which included comprehensive public consultation and independent evaluation, was the result of a rigorous and comprehensive process.
“The draft reports released by state and federal agencies last year received over 6600 submissions, with almost 6500 people from 75 countries visiting the dedicated website during the consultation phase,” Mr Powell said.
“I share the Federal Minister’s confidence in this process and the findings of the assessment.
“This is a significant piece of work that addresses one of UNESCO’s recommendations and will also inform our Reef 2050–Long Term Sustainability Plan for the Great Barrier Reef.
“The strategic assessment and Outlook Report released by the Federal Government provide a valuable opportunity to examine the cumulative impacts of activities on the Reef and the effectiveness of management to deal with such impacts.”
Through the strategic assessment, the Queensland Government has committed to initiatives that will deliver:
– Improved planning for urban areas, industry and ports;
– Restriction of port development to key existing ports of Townsville, Abbot Point, Hay Point and Mackay, Gladstone and Brisbane;
– Rigorous Environmental Impact Statement assessment processes for major projects;
– Better guidance for development activities;
– Enhanced management, recovery and monitoring programs;
– Strong joint management initiatives.
Press Release, August 12, 2014