This we know: The next state election to vote 93 members into the unicameral Legislative Assembly of Queensland must be held before 5 May, 2018. But the question of exact timing remains a mystery, and predicting it an interesting pastime. Did the promoter of the next Horn fight let it slip at a recent press conference when he said “November”, only to be hastily corrected by Minister Jones? Premier Palaszczuk has stated on occasions that the election will fall in 2018. No matter when exactly, an election will occur within the next eight months. And so it is time to determine which environmental commitments benefiting our wildlife should be sought from the various political parties in the event of their success.
Prior to the last election the Labor party provided Wildlife Queensland with a number of commitments, while the LNP offered none. Unexpectedly Labor formed a minority government and delivered on several of those environmental assurances, but not all. Granted, considerable effort by the Labor members saw good legislation introduced into the House, but only to see it lost due to the numbers.
Some of Labor’s more notable achievements include the banning of sandmining on North Stradbroke Island and related matters, as well as some amendments to the Nature Conservation Act. Another great win was the banning of single-use plastic bags and the introduction of a container refund scheme (albeit with bipartisan support from the LNP). While undoubtedly their most significant loss has been a failure to achieve much needed amendments to Vegetation Management legislation.
The Palaszczuk Government certainly continued the custom and practice of consulting and liaising with Wildlife Queensland. Except for Minister Powell, no one in the Newman LNP Government would even acknowledge Wildlife Queensland’s correspondence, let alone act upon it. Fortunately that is not the case under Tim Nicholls’ LNP which provides Wildlife Queensland with the opportunity to present its views and determine areas of common interest when it comes to environmental benefits, despite not all of our views being aligned.
With the next election on the horizon, Wildlife Queensland is beginning to formulate its list of pre-election asks, which will eventually be honed down to about five. At this stage it is likely that the commitments sought from the various political parties may vary slightly; it is better to expend our efforts and limited resources in areas where gains for our wildlife are likely to be achieved.
Issues under consideration include:
- Expanding the Protected Area Estate and enhancing its management
- Expanding the state marine parks
- Enhancing wildlife management
- Amending sections of the Nature Conservation Act 1992
- Undertaking a full review and reform of the use of offsets under environmental assessment
- Reviewing waste management
- Reintroducing Wild Rivers legislation
- Amending Stock Route legislation
Wildlife Queensland exists because of its loyal members and supporters and your views on where our efforts should be focused are most welcome. An insight into what the future holds for our wildlife should the LNP win the election will be provided at our upcoming Wildlife Matters: In a Climate of Change symposium as Dr Christian Rowan presents and takes questions from the floor. Labor is endeavouring to have a spokesperson attend also.
Wildlife Queensland wants to frame its pre-election requests for action to reflect the desires and wishes of our members and supporters. This can only occur if you let us know what is important to you.