4 August 2014 — The Queensland public is at odds with its government on how it sees the future of renewable energy and environmental management in the state, according to a newly released plan formed after extensive community engagement.
The Queensland Plan has seen 80,000 Queenslanders contribute to a strategic plan and vision for the next 30 years.
“The Queensland Plan sets a roadmap for future growth and prosperity and outlines what Queenslanders – in a huge and exemplary exercise in listening and consulting – want over the next 30 years,” Premier Campbell Newman said.
The environment section of the plan, however, sees the disparity between the citizenry and government at its starkest.
Among the goals listed is that “renewable energy become the norm”, which while Queensland households have been working to make this happen through massive uptake of rooftop solar, on the large-scale front Queensland lags well behind other states, despite huge solar and wind energy penetration.
This is partly due to the Newman government removing the renewable energy and energy efficiency plans of the former Labor government in 2012, citing duplication due to the now axed carbon tax.
Queenslanders also showed that they wanted to tackle urban sprawl and have an integrated sustainable cities plan with green spaces.
“As our population grows, we plan new developments that protect our environment. We give priority to best practice urban renewal,” the plan said. “This gives us better access to transport, services, and recreation and entertainment facilities.”
The plan also wanted to sees cities growing up, not out, with outward city development limited and cities “planned to be safe, attractive and environmentally sustainable places to live”.
Other goals included that the “environment remains a tourism and migration drawcard”, that the “natural environment has economic value”, and that “decisions are based on scientific evidence”.
“We will be internationally recognised for our approach in managing our environment and finite resources,” the document said.
Perhaps, but it might not be for the right reasons, as the government’s release of a framework for the resumption of uranium mining (made the day after the Queensland Plan was delivered) shows.
“Today we see how cavalier and reckless the Newman Government has become,” Places You Love Alliance spokesman Glen Klatovsky said. “They’ve put profiting from uranium mining over the interests of all Australians, especially those who rely on the Reef.”
“Today’s announcement of Queensland’s push to resume uranium mining shows why we need federal environmental regulations – to protect nationally important natural assets like the Reef and to safeguard nuclear issues.
The government is yet to officially respond to the plan, but a statement said it would “later in the year”.
Read the full plan.