Qld govt will not hinder coastal resource projects: Newman

A STRATEGIC assessment of the Great Barrier Reef by the Queensland government to ensure coastal development is properly planned will not affect resource project approvals, state Premier Campbell Newman says.
Qld govt will not hinder coastal resource projects: Newman Qld govt will not hinder coastal resource projects: Newman Qld govt will not hinder coastal resource projects: Newman Qld govt will not hinder coastal resource projects: Newman Qld govt will not hinder coastal resource projects: Newman

Queensland premier Campbell Newman

Lou Caruana

He said the assessment would be undertaken over the next 12 months and would enable the government to “strike the right balance” between environmental protection and ensuring sustainable development could still occur in coastal areas.

"A key component of the LNP's plan to grow a four pillar economy is the resources sector and we are focused on supporting and growing this industry,” he said.

“However, we are also determined to protect the environment and the Great Barrier Reef for future generations to enjoy.

"We will achieve this through the strategic assessment process that will enable us to more thoroughly plan development next to the Great Barrier Reef so we can minimise environment impacts.

"That doesn't rule out future coastal development but it does mean that development must be undertaken with one eye on the state's future prosperity and another on preservation of the reef."

In a report released last weekend, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation said the Great Barrier Reef was under threat from unprecedented development on the Queensland coast and was calling for a halt to new development but stopped short of labelling the reef “at risk”

The revelation comes from UNESCO's draft “state of conservation” paper on the reef, which will be mulled over by the World Heritage Committee later this month.

As part of its strategic assessment process, the state government will prepare a ports strategy for the Great Barrier Reef and refine the coastal plan that includes the protection of areas of high ecological significance.

Newman said it would also develop statutory regional plans to better manage land use issues and conduct a review of the environmental offsets required of developments to ensure funds were used to tackle the most significant issues facing the reef.

"The strategic assessment will take a broad view of all current impacts on the reef and how the potential impacts of future development can be avoided, mitigated or offset," he said.

"A strategic assessment should also help minimise duplication of approvals and give more certainty to the industry.

"I stress, we're not going to hold back the economic development of Queensland but we are going to make sure that we protect the environment as these new projects come forward."

Newman said the state government recognised the national and international importance of the reef and was committed to working with the Commonwealth to ensure this iconic landmark was preserved.

"The strategic assessment will be an opportunity for Queensland to show the world that we are at the forefront of best practice environmental planning and to demonstrate that we have rigorous systems in place to protect the Great Barrier Reef now and into the future," he said.