The federal government’s intervention to halt damaging land clearing at Kingvale Station on Cape York Peninsula is a welcome step towards protecting the catchment of the Great Barrier Reef, the Australian Conservation Foundation said today.
The federal government has used the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation (EPBC) Act to ‘call in’ the clearing at Kingvale Station for assessment.
In an unprecedented and welcome move, a delegate of the Environment and Energy Minister, Josh Frydenberg, made the referral after to the proponent refused to.
“The federal government’s intervention at Kingvale Station is welcome, but this is just the tip of the iceberg,” said ACF’s Northern Australia program officer Andrew Picone.
“About 300,000 hectares of land has been cleared each year for the last three years that has not been referred under our national environment law.
“State and national laws should be strengthened to better protect World Heritage areas and stop the extinction of threatened species.
“The federal government has an important role in protecting World Heritage areas and threatened species.
“None of the projects that were waved through under Newman era legislation have had their environmental impacts properly assessed.
“The interventions on Kingvale, nearby Olive Vale and other properties under investigation show how urgent is the need to fix Queensland’s vegetation laws.
“Nearly a million hectares of land has been cleared since Premier Newman first took the axe to the Vegetation Management Act.
“Under the current system, federal intervention on every clearing proposal represents the only opportunity to have nationally significant environmental values properly assessed and protected.
“We need to ensure that large scale clearing is stopped otherwise we will send species on the fast track to extinction,” Mr Picone said.