HOLD on to your sunnies, radical green bureaucrats, backed by both major parties are planning a major take-down of tourism and recreational fishers in regional communities. And it doesn’t stop there. Both the Federal LNP government and State Labor government were laying the groundwork for restrictive new laws and regulations across a range of new groups, including Queensland’s $4.6 billion tourism industry.
According to the draft review of reef sustainability, regional Queenslanders and industries are in for a period of ‘potentially major and uncertain changes’. First, they came for our farmers and most people said nothing. Then they came for our miners and most people said nothing. Now it looks like anyone living outside the south-east corner is in for a hiding and we’re not hearing anything about it.
The new draft “Reef 2050 Long-Term Sustainability Plan Review”, released last month, introduces a ‘sector-wide’ program of change that sets out new objectives aimed at “protecting the Great Barrier Reef”. Any regional Queenslander who wants a job or any kind of lifestyle in the future needs to read the draft review.
According to some of the detail of this document, green bureaucrats are planning a fairly radical transformation of regional towns and communities over the next couple of decades. The main areas of human activity targeted under the new plan include:
- Recreational fishing
- Commercial fishing
- Tourism – both land-based and water-based
- Indigenous groups
- Research activities
- Urban townships
- Coastal housing and infrastructure
- Beach uses
- Industrial activities
- Shipping and ports
- Recreational users of the reef, including tourists
The new plan, which calls for a further ‘ramping up’ of existing Reef Laws on farmers and commercial fishing, also proposes an extension of restrictions across a whole range of other ‘human-based activities’ – both recreational and commercial. The draft, which is just the first of a series of five-year plans to be released between now and 2050, will have an enormous negative impact on communities and businesses in the region, particularly those that heavily rely on reef tourism, or tourism-related businesses, to earn a living.
Proposals outlined in the draft paper will intensify the drive to lock up more and more areas of bushland in Central and North Queensland. This will greatly reduce people’s access to, and enjoyment of our beautiful natural hinterland. Today, more than 682,772 hectares of land have been given up by private landholders to the State government under its Nature Refuge Agreements Scheme. This land has been re-designated as “protected zones” and closed off permanently from the public.
The draft review calls for stricter laws around coastal infrastructure, planning, development and land use, as well as suggestions for measures that will ‘induce behaviour change’ within regional communities. Groups singled out in the new Reef Plan, include business, tourism, industry, mining, farmers, Indigenous communities, commercial and recreational fishers, private homeowners, as well as commercial and recreational boat operators.
They are planning to restrict recreational fishing as well as 4-wheel driving on beaches. The plan proposes a new 4-wheel drive permit system, strict speed limits, and restricted beach access points. These bureaucrats are making decisions and laying down edicts that undermine people’s lives and livelihoods. There has been no transparency from either of the major parties around some of these changes. Some of the changes here are pretty radical, and yet there has been almost no widespread public discussion or debate around the likely costs or consequences to the community of all this.
I’m calling on all Queenslanders to have their say on the Draft Plan before public consultation closes at the end of this month.
TO HAVE YOUR SAY:
Submit your feedback by 11.59pm AEST Wednesday 30 September 2020.