Land clearing rejection good news for our Reef and threatened marine wildlife

The Federal Environment Minister’s decision to reject a proposal to clear land in Far North Queensland will benefit the Great Barrier Reef, the Australian Marine Conservation Society (AMCS) say.

Minister Sussan Ley used her powers under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation (EPBC) Act to refuse plans to clear almost 2,000 hectares of forest for grazing at Kingvale Station on the Cape York Peninsula on the grounds of unacceptable impacts on threatened species and habitats.

“Land clearing on this scale would have had significant water quality impacts on Princess Charlotte Bay in the far north of the Great Barrier Reef, so we are pleased Minister Ley has knocked this destructive project back,” said AMCS reef campaigner Elise Springett.

“Princess Charlotte Bay is an incredibly important habitat for threatened species like dugongs, hammerhead sharks, sawfish and turtles.

“Our forests act as natural filters for sediments and nutrients, ensuring not too much flows out into Reef habitats including seagrass meadows where we find threatened species like dugongs and turtles.

“Sediment pollution, which is an issue in grazing dominated catchments, smothers seagrass and suffocates inshore corals.

“The Reef 2050 Water Quality Improvement Plan includes water quality targets crucial for our Reef to avoid an ‘in danger’ rating from the World Heritage Committee. The catchment within which Kingvale is situated (the Normanby catchment) has a target for sediment reduction so this decision will make a real difference.

“This is exactly how our national environment laws should be used – to protect our beautiful Australian environments and the wildlife that depends on them – both on land and at sea.”

AMCS was one of a number of conservation organisations who made submissions opposing approval of the project across several years.

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