The Queensland government has publicly released a plan to allow development in Cape York – a fortnight after repealing Labor’s Wild Rivers laws.
Ecologically and culturally sensitive parts of Cape York will be declared as “strategic environment areas” under a new plan to allow development.
The Queensland government has publicly released a 52-page plan, a fortnight after repealing Labor’s 2005 Wild Rivers laws which banned strip mining, intensive agriculture and in-stream dams in that part of far north Queensland.
The Cape York Regional Plan was tabled in parliament a week ago but was not released online until Friday.
It includes the declaration of “strategic environmental areas” where there is significant value for ecology, biodiversity, culture and water.
This covers the Archer, Lockhart, Stewart and Wenlock basins, where development was banned under the former Wild Rivers laws.
In June, the Federal Court declared those restrictions as invalid but did not overturn the old laws.
Deputy Premier Jeff Seeney said the Cape York plan had given traditional owners and indigenous communities in Cape York a real say and genuine opportunities.
“The plan allows for the protection of areas that the community believes are worthy of protection and allows opportunities for other areas to be sustainably developed with a high level of input from local community members,” he said in a statement.
But the Wilderness Society said the plan would fast-track development in Cape York.
“Hot on the heels of the removal of the Wild Rivers protections, we now have a hotch-potch of weak regulation and bureaucratic maze, based on the proposition that mining and environmentally sensitive areas can co-exist,” Queensland campaigner Tim Seelig said.