12 April 2022
The starter gun has been fired for the Federal Election on 21 May 2022. Although Wildlife Queensland is apolitical, it is customary for our Policies and Campaigns Officer to contact political parties prior to an election to determine environment-related policies and inform members and supporters.
This year, for the first time in living history, Wildlife Queensland was contacted by a political party seeking advice on our concerns regarding environment-related issues that require intervention or action at a Federal level – an unexpected event indeed! That proactive political party was the Animal Justice Party Queensland (AJPQ).
Following an initial exchange of emails, Mackenzie Severns, Lead Senate Candidate, and Dominique Thiriet, Deputy Convenor of AJPQ, arranged a Zoom meeting with Wildlife Queensland’s Des Boyland to discuss conservation issues.
Federal issues and matters of concern discussed included (in no order of priority):
- governmental failure to address climate change in a meaningful way
- Wildlife Queensland’s total opposition to the Commonwealth Government devolving approval processes and responsibilities to the states. Impacts, or potential impacts, on matters of National Environmental Significance during development must remain the responsibility of the Commonwealth.
- the inadequate level of funding provided by the Commonwealth for World Heritage-listed properties in Queensland
- the need to ensure that the Great Sandy World Heritage Area, including the Cooloola Great Sandy Region, is not removed from the UNESCO World Heritage tentative list
- the need to reactivate the National Reserve System (NRS). The program ran from 1996 but was not extended past 2013. It provided $200 million to assist the purchase of 371 properties. The Commonwealth provided $2 for every $1 by another person, organisation, company, local authority or State Government to purchase land for conservation purposes.
- the Commonwealth’s plan to move away from national threatened species recovery plans for various species. We know recovery plans work when adequately funded and when responsibility for outcomes is taken.
- the need for expansion of Commonwealth Marine Reserves and enhanced zoning plans with adequate Green zones
- the need to curb plastic waste. The Commonwealth Government has a key role in addressing marine plastic pollution.
The Animal Justice Party Queensland shared the link to their recently launched, Queensland-specific AJPQ website, where a range of policies is accessible. Policies include, but are not limited to:
- environmental law
- the Great Barrier Reef
- climate change
- bats and flying foxes
- native birds
- natural gas, and
- land clearing.
Many of the policies allow voters to download a PDF policy sheet and access background information and a rationale for the party’s policies and key objectives. The website includes user-friendly functionality, enabling voters to search AJPQ policies and to view election candidates.
While several Wildlife Queensland policies align with AJPQ policies, other stated policies on the AJPQ website reveal distinct differences. Nevertheless, Wildlife Queensland is happy to provide this information in the hope that those who wish to do so can take environment- and wildlife-related policies into consideration when exercising their vote.
Authorised by Des Boyland, Secretary, on behalf of the Wildlife Preservation Society of Queensland.