Tuesday, 8 May 2012
Questions on Notice
World Heritage Areas (Question No. 1571)
asked the Minister representing the Minister for Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities, upon notice, on 29 February 2012:
With reference to the Minister's response to a question without notice on 27 February 2012 (Senate Hansard, proof p. 22), what components of the protected wild rivers of south-west Queensland fail to warrant protection under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 as having 'national environmental significance'.
The Minister for Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities has provided the following answer to the honourable senator's question:
Queensland's Wild Rivers Act 2005 aims to preserve the natural values of wild rivers by providing for declarations of rivers as 'wild' and then regulating future development activities within the declared wild river and its catchment area.
In wild river areas, projects such as in-stream dams and weirs, surface mining, and intensive agriculture are subject to restrictions. Low impact activities such as small-scale commercial fishing, ecotourism, and sustainable industries are permitted with Queensland Government approval.
The Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act) protects matters of national environmental significance:
The EPBC Act operates independently of Queensland's Wild Rivers legislation.
Under the EPBC Act, actions that have, or are likely to have, a significant impact on a matter of national environmental significance require approval from the Australian Government Minister for Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities (the minister).
Matters other than matters of national environmental significance are not protected under the EPBC Act except in relation to actions proposed on, or that will affect, Commonwealth land and actions proposed by Commonwealth agencies, where the matter protected is the environment.