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Queensland Wild Rivers Policy and legislation Scott Buchanan Team Leader (Wild Rivers)

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Presentation on theme: "Queensland Wild Rivers Policy and legislation Scott Buchanan Team Leader (Wild Rivers)"— Presentation transcript:

1 Queensland Wild Rivers Policy and legislation Scott Buchanan Team Leader (Wild Rivers)

2 Outline History Policy implementation Legislative framework Development regulation Developments affected

3 2004 Government Policy Aim to preserve State’s remaining wild rivers for current and future generations A wild river has all, or almost all, of its natural values intact Protect against further loss of values Consider all activities affecting river health - in the river and its catchment Cheaper to protect than rehabilitate Leading edge policy in Australia

4 Identified potential wild river areas First 6 wild river declarations Staaten River Settlement River Morning Inlet Gregory River Hinchinbrook Island Fraser Island Identified potential wild river areas

5 Cape York Peninsula

6 Policy Objectives The policy aims to preserve river systems that have low levels of bio- physical disturbance in order to maintain their environmental, economic and social amenity. The main natural values of interest are hydrologic processes, geomorphic processes, riparian function, water quality and wildlife corridors The focus of the policy is to prevent the future loss of these values that would result if further development were permitted without constraint

7 Policy Implementation Achieve policy objective by legislation that: – declares wild rivers through a planning process – recognises existing developments and rights – regulates specific future development in the wild river area – prevents new development in sensitive areas – raises the assessment ‘bar’ on developments – caps access to water (if no Water Resource Plan) – uses existing legislative frameworks

8 Powers to protect wild rivers Legislation Wild river declarations Wild river code

9 Development Assessment Development applications assessed for impact on the following natural values: – hydrological processes – geomorphic processes –water quality – riparian function – wildlife corridor function

10 Developments Affected In high preservation area prohibit new: – instream dams and weirs – stream realignment and de-snagging (except for safety) – surface mining and exploration (except limited hand sampling) – intensive agriculture (significant soil disturbance, large scale irrigation, large fertiliser and pesticide inputs) – animal husbandry and aquaculture – environmentally relevant activities (some exemptions) – native veg clearing (except for specified exemptions)

11 Developments Affected (cont) In high preservation area: –Linear infrastructure or that for safety permitted but assessable In preservation area prohibit new: –surface mining in nominated waterways –quarrying (unless an existing allocation, for specified works or for residential complexes) –stream realignment and desnagging In floodplain management area prohibit new: –ponded pasture structures, drains and levees Assessment of all other new development Limits on water allocation and take

12 Access to Resources Water Quarry Material Native Vegetation

13 Agriculture New permanent agricultural areas, such as crop paddocks, orchards and market gardens, can be established outside, but not within, HPAs. Areas established for non-invasive fodder crops are not subject to any wild river requirements, whereas all other situations are. Temporary pasture improvement, using low disturbance techniques such as seeders and drills, is permitted in HPAs to allow pastoralists to increase ground cover. Ponded pastures will be permitted provided certain invasive species are not used and the ponds are limited in size if built within a floodplain management area

14 Property Development Plan Can apply for approval of a property development plan which will allow plan owner to apply for those developments to occur within a HPA if it can be shown: –That the carrying out of activities will not have an adverse impact on the natural values of the wild river –The environmental benefits of the plan justify the approval of the plan An approved PDP will require an amendment to a Declaration. If the amended declaration is successful, the PDP will have effect.

15 Impact on Native Title Native title rights are automatically protected through the Commonwealth Native Title Act 1993. Wild Rivers is a planning tool that only deals with development applications. Most Native title rights do not require an application and consequently are not affected by a Wild River declaration. Section 44(2), ensures that if, as a result of State law, a Native Title holder was required to apply for a permit or authorisation to exercise a Native Title right, then any restriction on that activity as a result of a Wild River Declaration would not apply to that Native Title holder

16 Wild Rivers Purpose to preserve the natural values of those river systems that have all, or almost all of their natural values intact. Does allow sensible development to occur. Wild Rivers policy does not lock out development. Will support clean and green enterprises

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