South-East Queensland (SE Queensland) contains 30 per cent of Queensland's rare and endangered plants and 40 per cent of the State's rare and endangered fauna. Not to mention two of the State's five World Heritage listed sites.
South-East Queensland is also the fastest-growing region in Australia. This expansion has huge and serious implications for Queensland's wildlife and natural habitat.
What the Queensland Government has done
The Queensland Government produced a draft regional plan to cope with these predicted changes. The Office of Urban Management has asked the public for responses to its draft South-East Queensland Regional Plan by 28 February 2005.
Wildlife Queensland is concerned about the implications of the predicted rise in population and also by the implications of the draft plan. The Society urges its members to respond to the Queensland Government's call for comments on the draft plan.
What to do
- Read the information in Huge changes ahead for SE Queensland. This information tells you what changes are likely to happen and what is already happening for SE Queensland.
- Read The Plan proposal below. This information summarises the main parts of the draft plan.
- Respond by 28 February 2005 to the Office of Urban Management with your feedback on the draft plan.
- Use to the points raised in What to say.
Huge changes ahead for SE Queensland
The government has predicted these changes are likely to happen in South East Queensland by 2025:
- 1000 people a week are moving to the region.
- By 2025, 1 million more people will be living in the region between Noosa Shire in the north, Toowoomba in the west and the NSW border in the south.
- The extra population will increase the population by 25 per cent to reach a total of 4 million people, the same size as Sydney now.
What will happen in SE Queensland?
The effect on the region's environment will be enormous unless managed properly. Here's a summary of the projected implications.
- Around 500 000 new dwellings will be needed to house the extra people.
- Around 500 000 new jobs will have to be created.
- The daily number of car trips will increase by 50 per cent.
- Building and infrastructure will have to expand to cope with the extra population and its demands: the need to supply roads, power and water sources, retail and services.
- If the population continues to increase at the predicted rate, the region's population will be 6.5 million by 2050.
The Plan proposal
The government says its draft South East Queensland Regional Plan (SEQ Plan) aims to deal with the population changes while protecting the existing environment and quality of life in the region.
A network of interconnecting cities (Brisbane, Toowoomba, Ipswich, Logan, Gold Coast, Sunshine Coast), separated by open space, will prevent urban sprawl turning the whole region into one big conurbation.
Protected open space
The open space will include nature conservation areas, farmland and recreation areas. These will be protected from being developed.
The plan lays out what is called an urban footprint to define the areas where people will live and development will occur. The SEQ Plan says an established urban footprint will prevent encroachment onto open space and farmland. However, some analyses of the plan indicate that the proposed plan has superimposed the urban footprint over existing nature conservation areas.
What to say
When you respond to the OUM, you can include some of the following points in your feedback.
- The final plan must permanently protect all regional landscapes, including forests, beaches and waterways.
- Open space that is suitable for wildlife habitat must be permanently retained. Recreation space must not be maintained at the expense of nature conservation areas or rural land.
- The final plan must not allow the networked cities to be dependent on car transport. A better public transport system must be put in place to minimise the environmental impact of increased traffic.
- Can the region accommodate the projected population increase in the first place? The Queensland Government needs to assess the impacts of this increase and determine what is a sustainable population.
- The draft plan does not appear to be based on planning best practice:
- Not enough public participation in choosing the final option
- Does not promote ecologically sustainable development
- Fails to protect land with regional conservation significance
- Provides too much urban land.
The public must have enough opportunity to make a submission on any plan local government drafts to support the regional plan.
More information on the proposed SEQ Plan on the Office of Urban Management web site.
For more information about the poultry shed grant scheme and other activities, contact Wildlife Queensland by email or call +61 7 3221 0194.