Queensland Wild Rivers Policy and legislation Scott Buchanan

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

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

Outline • • • History Policy implementation Legislative framework Development regulation Developments affected

Outline • • • History Policy implementation Legislative framework Development regulation Developments affected

2004 Government Policy • Aim to preserve State’s remaining wild rivers for current and

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

First 6 wild river Identified potential wild river areas declarations river • Staaten River

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

Cape York Peninsula

Cape York Peninsula

Policy Objectives • The policy aims to preserve river systems that have low levels

Policy Objectives • The policy aims to preserve river systems that have low levels of biophysical 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

Policy Implementation • Achieve policy objective by legislation that: – declares wild rivers through

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

Powers to protect wild rivers • Legislation • Wild river declarations • Wild river

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

Development Assessment • Development applications assessed for impact on the following natural values: –

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

Developments Affected • In high preservation area prohibit new: – instream dams and weirs

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)

Developments Affected (cont) • In high preservation area: – Linear infrastructure or that for

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

Access to Resources • Water • Quarry Material • Native Vegetation

Access to Resources • Water • Quarry Material • Native Vegetation

Property Development Plan • Can apply for approval of a property development plan which

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.

Impact on Native Title • Native title rights are automatically protected through the Commonwealth

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

Wild Rivers • Purpose to preserve the natural values of those river systems that

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