Deforestation doubles in Queensland according to new data, exposing serious policy flaws

Double the previous report, the Queensland Government has just revealed that 680 688 hectares of Queensland’s forest and woodland has been destroyed between July 2018 and June 2019 according to the latest Statewide Landcover and Tree Study (SLATS) data just released. This is over five times the size of Brisbane City Council area (134 270 hectares). 

“This data reveals that deforestation in Queensland is still out of control and is a serious risk to vulnerable wildlife and turbo-charging carbon release and climate change” said Dave Copeman, Director of the Queensland Conservation Council. 

“The huge area of destruction reported means we have probably been underestimating clearing throughout Queensland for years. This time they have used higher resolution imagery and analysis, it is far worse than we had been led to believe.” 

In 2015, the Palaszczuk government was elected to office on the commitment to reverse the Newman government’s weakening of Queensland’s tree clearing laws. Although amendments were passed in 2018 tightening protection, it left critical loopholes open, allowing the widespread destruction of Queensland's ecosystems.   

“The extent and pace of deforestation in Queensland is heartbreaking and we owe it to future generations to stop this climate-wrecking and habitat destroying trend,” Mr Copeman said.  

“The decisions we make today could mean either the survival or extinction of species like the koala or greater glider.” said Mr Copeman. 

“These trees will never have the chance to grow to become the habitats that our Koalas, our gliders, and the other 216 threatened animals so desperately need. 

This imagery puts to the sword the fear mongering on 2018 land clearing amendments to the Vegetation Management Act, when agricultural groups claimed it was a massive overreach by the Queensland Government. 

“We need to tighten the vegetation management act and close these loopholes for good.” said Copeman. “It’s disappointing that beef producer industry groups, such as Agforce, have been falsely claiming there is no deforestation in Queensland, even before this report was released. 

“They are stuck in the past, as the tree clearing practices they defend were abandoned by most of the industry years ago. The future of Queensland's beef industry is zero carbon, deforestation free beef, not the fights of the past.