MEDIA RELEASE: November 13, 2017
Environmental bonds no substitute for stronger land clearing laws
Peak environment group the Queensland Conservation Council has poured cold water on today’s announcement of a proposed small program of ‘environmental benefits bonds’ by Liberal National Party.
The bonds would apparently operate to encourage investment in Great Barrier Reef and koala programs for a financial return, but would operate in a vacuum of environmental policy and legislative protections such as stronger land clearing laws.
“Environmental bonds are no substitute for stronger land clearing laws”, said Queensland Conservation Council head Dr Tim Seelig.
“If we want to prevent run-off into the Great Barrier Reef, or protect koala habitat, we need to make sure our woodlands are not being bulldozed.
“As we saw with yesterday’s tree planting announcement by Tim Nicholls, if you don’t support stronger land clearing laws, you’re not going to address the underlying cause of the problem that leads to koalas being killed or made homeless, or the reef being polluted.
“Innovative approaches to helping nature are all well and good, but they need to operate in the context of strong legislative efforts to reduce land clearing across Queensland.
“At the last count, Queensland lost 395,000 hectares of woodlands and forests to land clearing in 2015/16. That was a 33% jump in clearing rates over the previous year. 40% of that clearing was in GBR catchments, a big rise (45%) on the prior twelve months.
“These huge increases in land clearing can be directly attributed to changes that the LNP made to laws and policies when they were in government. They were warned at the time this would happen.
“Relying exclusively on market mechanisms or voluntary approaches to patch up the results of past land clearing government policy mistakes just won’t cut it. The evidence is already in.
“The fact is we need much stronger land clearing laws in place, along with large scale land restoration and carbon farming incentives, if we want to properly protect our woodlands and native animals.”
QCC’s policy for land clearing reform can be seen at: http://bit.ly/2gUWXYI
For further comment contact:
Queensland Conservation Council Coordinator Dr Tim Seelig on 0439 201 183