Statement on QCC’s expectations for the re-elected Queensland Labor Government

The Queensland Conservation Council (QCC) looks forward to working with the re-elected Queensland Labor Government to protect, conserve, and sustain our spectacular natural environment in Queensland.

We will look to hold to account the Queensland Labor Government's environment and energy commitments which were made in the last term and during the recent election campaign.

Labor’s environment and energy commitments are listed below:

Environment

We welcome the Protected Area Strategy, and the reiteration of the Government’s commitment to protect 17% of Queensland for nature conservation. We acknowledge the initial $60m announcement, which includes $28 million for new parks and $8m for private nature reserves. We request that at least $30m of this announcement be allocated in the 2020 Budget so that pending expansions of the protected area estate can progress. We also ask that the Environment Minister is directed to bring annual budget submissions to continue to expand funding to the level necessary to reach the 17% target by 2030. We strongly support the plan to expand the indigenous ranger program and welcome the commitment to continue to fund the Cape York Peninsula Tenure Resolution Program.

We also welcome the re-commitment to develop a 10-year Climate Action Plan to meet the target of cutting climate pollution by 35% by 2030 and set Queensland on the path to net zero emissions. QCC are keen to work with the Government to ensure this Action Plan includes legislated targets, a government-wide approach that incorporates climate action into all areas of Government planning, sectoral emission reduction targets, and a rigorous, transparent monitoring and reporting framework. We also believe an independent Authority created by legislation is necessary, whether this is a stand-alone Climate Authority or part of the legislated role of the Environmental Protection Agency proposed by Minister Enoch, and would ask that the Environment Minister is charged in their charter letter with delivering such an Authority.

We ask that the Environment Minister also be charged with completing the proposed Biodiversity Strategy, as required by the Nature Conservation Act and recommended by the Auditor-General, and to work in partnership with QCC and conservation organisations to ensure this strategy has the funding and the regulatory reach to protect the hundreds of Queensland species at risk of extinction. We also ask that the Queensland Government work closely with the environment movement on any negotiation on a bi-lateral agreement to devolve federal EPBC Act powers to the Queensland Government, and would welcome anticipatory conversations about how this could be best achieved.

Energy

QCC welcome the commitments that the Government has made to investing in public renewable energy, particularly the $500m Renewable Energy Fund, and the $145m funding for the three corridors of Renewable Energy Zones. We ask that the new Energy Minister be directed to ensure that such investments are designed to most effectively stimulate the growth of capacity in the grid to allow for the replacement of thermal coal generation by renewable generation and storage by 2030, including the replacement of one coal-fired power station in the next four years.

We welcome the commitment of $40 million to establish two renewable energy training facilities in Salisbury and Townsville, and the commitments for solar on public hospitals and schools. This continued support for solar and renewables as a growth industry is welcomed, and we ask that this approach be extended to Queensland’s most vulnerable community members in social housing and that the Housing Minister be directed to continue to work in partnership with QCOSS, QCC and Solar Citizens to explore a suitable framework for installing solar and storage for appropriate social housing.

We ask that the Energy Minister be charged with implementing the draft Energy Efficiency framework, to help bring Queenslanders emissions and power bills down through improved energy efficiency standards and incentives.

QCC recommend our Environment Agenda to all Queensland Government Ministers as a summary of the many priorities and recommendations of the environment movement in Queensland. https://www.queenslandconservation.org.au/environment_agenda