Resurrection of the Queensland Coastal Plan

Cyclone Marcia approaching central QLD

As a tropical cyclone approaches the Queensland coast, I am reminded of the former Labor Government’s QUEENSLAND COASTAL PLAN.

In March 2011, the then Deputy Premier and the then Minister for Environment jointly released the Plan. Many years of hard work based on good science and consultation went into the formulation of this Plan. It was quickly abandoned by the Newman Government.

The Coastal Plan recognised the enormous value of the Queensland coast to the economy, environment, livelihoods and lifestyle of Queenslanders. Coast and marine areas of Queensland add enormously to the welfare of Australians more broadly, and given its famed world heritage areas such as the Great Barrier Reef and Fraser Island, offers the rest of the world critical habitat and environmental conditions under threat from climate change. The Plan highlights the need to be aware of the great challenges of the future including population growth and hence the responsibilities that exist at various levels to protect the coast for future generations. In that sense it is forward looking and calls for “ responsible planning” by ensuring that “our precious coastal qualities are preserved and infrastructure and livelihoods are protected from coastal hazard impacts”.

The Queensland Coastal Plan cleverly is divided into two interrelated parts: (1) State Policy for Coastal Management; and (2) State Planning Policy for Coastal Protection. Each part clearly articulates purpose, area of coverage and application. Without going into any further detail, I am impressed by the way the previous Labor Government was able to indicate how management and planning could best be brought together  for the benefit of present and future coastal use. At the time I was in a position to take the Plan to the former Tasmanian  Government and advocate its use as an example for Tasmania. Unfortunately a change in government put an end to that dream.

The President of ACS has written to the new Minister for the Environment in Queensland requesting as a matter of urgency that the new Labor Government consider resurrecting the Coastal Plan. While some may see this Plan as being somewhat prescriptive in approach, it offers greater clarity and certainty than what the Newman Government left behind. I hope all members of ACS will join us in pushing for a return of the Queensland Coastal Plan c. 2011.