The Australian and Queensland governments will work together on three initial Queensland bioregional plans to help protect, restore, and manage the environment in three areas of Queensland.
A landmark memorandum of understanding (MoU) between the Australian and Queensland governments will guide this work.
The Australian Government today responded to the Samuel Review into the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999, announcing its Nature Positive Plan: better for business, better for the environment. A central component of the Plan is a focus on “regional planning” to achieve better overall environmental outcomes and faster decisions for business.
In Queensland – as “regional plans” already exist as a separate part of the planning system – these plans will be called bioregional plans.
Each of the three Queensland bioregional plans will be in a location that has a particular focus, starting with urban development in the south-east, followed by a region with a focus on renewable energy and another that is focused on rare minerals.
Bioregional plans will better protect areas that matter for the environment and allow for faster development decisions. Bioregional plans will deliver on the new Standards.
They will provide developers and environmental consultants with clear guidance on areas to be protected, areas that can be fast tracked for development and areas where development can proceed with caution. Fast tracked areas may allow for certain types of development to proceed without further Australian Government approval.
Developing a bioregional plan will be a collaborative process involving state or territory governments, the local community, First Nations, local governments, business, natural resource management organisations, environmental NGOs, and technical experts.
The Australian and Queensland Palaszczuk governments will work with relevant stakeholders and First Nations in each chosen region from early next year.
Quotes attributable to Minister for the Environment and Water Tanya Plibersek:
“Our Nature Positive Plan will better protect, restore, and manage our country’s precious environment while at the same time promoting sustainable development.
“Bioregional plans are a critical part of the Plan. By planning across a region, rather than just individual projects, we can determine up front which areas must be protected from development because of their environmental significance.
“We will also be able to identify priority development areas. These areas may allow for certain types of development to proceed without further Australian Government approval.
“Bioregional plans will help address the cumulative impacts of having multiple projects in one area. It will enable us to develop regional approaches to protection of threatened species, for example by establishing wildlife corridors to link up existing areas of bush land.”
Quotes attributable to the Queensland Minister for Minister for the Environment and the Great Barrier Reef and Minister for Science and Youth Affairs Meaghan Scanlon:
“Queensland has always been clear in the need for a Federal Government to respond to the Samuel Review and provide certainty about longer-term reforms. After a decade of inaction by the previous Federal Government, the Australian Albanese and Queensland Palaszcuk governments are now getting on with the job.
“Recommendation 25 of the Samuel Review called for more effective planning to consider cumulative impacts on the environment and future threats as a way to build environmental resilience in a changing climate. That is what these plans will address.
“This is an important step for Queensland as Australia’s fastest growing state and as major investments in climate action and renewable energy accelerate through our $62 billion Energy and Jobs Plan.
“We look forward to working with the Australian Government to develop and implement these regional plans.”