Leading environment groups will today reiterate the need for stronger vegetation protection laws in Queensland to protect endangered species, ecosystems and the Great Barrier Reef.

Presenting at the first public hearing of the Queensland Parliamentary Inquiry into the Vegetation Management (Reinstatement) and other Legislation Amendment Bill 2016, ACF’s Andrew Picone and Environmental Defenders Office of Northern Queensland’s Tania Heber will outline why Queensland’s Vegetation Management Act must be strengthened.

“Queensland is a global biodiversity hotspot supporting 72 per cent of Australia’s birds, 85 per cent of our nation’s mammals and over 12,000 species of plants. More than 400 Queensland species are listed as threatened under Commonwealth laws,” said Andrew Picone, ACF’s Northern Australia Program Officer.

“Unless we strengthen vegetation laws to better protect habitats, Queensland’s legislative framework will remain out of step with national and international frameworks such as the Convention on Biological Diversity, ratified by Australia in 1993,” said Mr Picone.

“Loss of habitat is one of the major threats to Queensland's unique wildlife. This Bill reinstates protections that guard against vegetation loss,” said Tania Heber, the Environmental Defenders Office of Northern Queensland’s Principal Solicitor.

“Since 2012, in Far North Queensland we have seen an increase in soil loss and pollution of streams, the bulldozing of thousands of hectares of threatened species habitat and the addition of millions of tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions,” said Roz Walden, Cairns and Far North Environment Centre’s (CAFNEC) Community Organiser.

CAFNEC, EDO NQ and ACF acknowledge the important role farmers play in sustainable land management across Queensland and support environmental stewardship incentives and mechanisms such as lease extensions and nature refuge funding.

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