A Sustainable and Liveable Community Future
The environmental agenda is about balancing economic, social and environmental needs. It is also about building a clean, healthy and liveable future. We all want to live well and hand on a lifestyle as good as, or better, than our own to those who come after us.
Unfortunately the need for proper balance and for positive change is not fully understood by many decision makers. To do this we need to get much smarter about our State’s natural limits, how we plan our communities, how we feed ourselves and how we can coexist with nature in one of the most biologically diverse parts of the world.
Today our society is in stress. Community infrastructure such as transport, water supply and power no longer meet our needs and certainly not our future needs. We waste too much and don’t protect our food growing areas sufficiently.
We envisage a future where planning and development creates communities that are largely self-sufficient, with small physical and ecological footprints. This means tackling urban sprawl and car dominance head-on, and creating healthy human-scale urban environments, with abundant local food production, water harvesting and energy generation. It means building a genuinely green economy for the future.
Develop a transition strategy for Queensland with the objective of building an ecologically sustainable 21st Century economy. The Queensland economy is overly dependent upon dirty and energy intense industries. As a result, society is threatened and its future extremely vulnerable. Queensland must embrace the new and emerging opportunities provided by a green economic agenda and build a different future.
An ecologically sustainable agenda means removing support from polluting industries, cleaning up the mess created, investing in new and emerging modern, zero pollution industries and providing mass employment opportunities through a new green-collar workforce. It means supporting engaged communities in building their own sustainable futures.
The Queensland Government should support a National Sustainable population Policy that stabilises population at an ecologically sustainable level.
Queensland should work towards stabilising its population to an ecologically sustainable level – both on a State and regional planning basis.
Planning and legal reform
The entire marine and terrestrial environment of Queensland should be subject to comprehensive planning and regulation to ensure its ecological sustainability and the protection of whole of the community interests.
Planning at the regional or local levels must take account of the cumulative and offsite impacts of major developments, which often affect multiple regions.
Major concerns remain about historic development approvals and injurious affection.
Projects of State Significance, because of their potential impact on the environment, should have greater approval requirements than other projects. Mining and marine development areas should be subject to the same approval regulations as other development. Exploration permits must not automatically prescribe the right to extract.
The EIS process should be made more transparent through the inclusion of an independent auditing process.
All regional development plans must include and require assessment of future carrying capacity*, resource and population limits based upon agreed sustainability indicators. The instruments must monitor and review outcomes and provide funding for infrastructure and services and implementation of action plans.
Climate mitigation and adaptation must be included in any planning schemes.
A State of the Region(s) Report Card should be published annually.
* Carrying capacity (World Resources Institute) The maximum number of people or individuals of a particular species that a given part of the environment can maintain indefinitely.
Introduce a healthy food program to shift away from genetically modified produce and towards ecological farming and sustainable fisheries produce, providing food security and promoting local food.
The program should have a major bias towards promoting sustainability and health of food and its production. It should support progressive Queensland primary producers who demonstrate best practice ecological farming practices and fishers who demonstrate sustainable fisheries practices.
Introduce a strategy that set resource recovery targets with a zero waste goal. Based upon the cradle-to-cradle, waste hierarchy and extended producer responsibility (i.e. container deposit) and user-pays principles support secondary resource economy and mandate methane capture from all landfill (including legacy landfill).
We support the introduction of a waste levy (across all waste generation sectors) to provide funding for waste avoidance, re-use and resource recovery initiatives. The waste levy should be subject to scheduled increases in rates to maintain the momentum towards a zero waste society.
State Government procurement policy should preference products that are made from recycled products or secondary resources. Government should work collaboratively with the Commonwealth and other jurisdictions to ensure national waste policies outcomes are achieved and contribute to Queensland zero waste goals.