27 C
Byron Shire
April 21, 2021

Queensland repeals Wild Rivers laws

Latest News

Local youth among those hardest hit by housing affordability crisis

A 20 per cent spike in rents is driving an increase in youth homelessness across the North Coast, the organisers of a national campaign to end homelessness say.

Other News

Cartoon of the week – 21 April, 2021

We love to receive letters, but not every letter will be published; the publication of letters is at the discretion of the online and print letters editors.

SCU named as partner in two national drought hubs

Southern Cross University has been announced as playing a crucial partnership role in two new Drought Resilience Adoption and Innovation Hubs.

Hanging points

Jo Faith, Newtown Many thanks to The Echo for printing ex-magistrate David Heilpern’s remarkable article articulating the ongoing tragic situation surrounding...

Remembering and Healing – the Northern Rivers peace effort

The community of Lismore are invited to join events organised by the Remembering and Healing (RaH) group over the weekend encompassing ANZAC Day.

Fresh faces for Council elections

A very distinct, black flat-cap has just been thrown into the ring for the upcoming Byron Council elections, pegged for September 4.

Interview with Toni Childs

Internationally celebrated musician, Emmy winner and three times Grammy nominee Toni Childs is bringing her show to The Brunswick Picture House. With two acts, Childs is promising a special two hour performance as she celebrates her vast catalogue of music, which also saw her celebrate the 30th anniversary of her critically acclaimed album Union in 2019.

Queensland premier Campbell Newman.
Queensland premier Campbell Newman.

The Queensland parliament has passed legislation to repeal the state’s controversial Wild Rivers Act.

The Wilderness Society says the repeal is a tragedy for some of the last free-flowing rivers on the planet.

But the Newman government says it reflects a Federal Court decision earlier this year, and a new framework will ensure river systems are protected.

Environment Minister Andrew Powell has told parliament that all former Wild River sites will now be declared strategic environmental areas.

Planning decisions for those areas will now be made through either local government planning schemes, or regional interest development approvals at the state level.

He said the new system would reduce complexity for development in local communities, and maintain environmental values.

Dams and weirs in strategic environmental areas will require a regional interest development approval, as will mining and broadacre cropping activities.

Mr Powell said the changes would reset the imbalance created by the Wild Rivers Act, particularly on Cape York.

But the Wilderness Society said the repeal was a tragedy, and would do away with buffer zones created under the Wild Rivers Act to protect rivers from risky development such as strip mining, intensive agriculture and in-stream dams.

It said the Newman government trashed the laws to satisfy miners and developers.

‘The repeal of the Wild Rivers Act will once again expose sensitive, pristine rivers to destructive development threats,’ the society’s Queensland campaign manager Tim Seelig said.

‘In its place, the Newman government will run with a dog’s breakfast of weaker policies, regulation and ever-changing maps which will operate without any parliamentary oversight and will lead to arbitrary decision-making.”

The Opposition’s environment spokesperson Jackie Trad said the environment would suffer with the loss of laws intended to stop over-extraction and protect vulnerable ecosystems.

She also accused Mr Powell of misrepresenting a recent Federal Court ruling about the Wild Rivers laws.

In April this year, the Federal Court declared invalid development restrictions on the Archer, Lockhart and Stewart basins, made under the Beattie Labor government’s Wild Rivers Act of 2005.

‘The court decision did not overturn the Wild Rivers Act as the government has attempted to claim,’ Ms Trad told parliament.

She said it had identified ‘process issues’ with the declaration of those three rivers, and the court ruling did not undermine declarations for the Wenlock, the gulf and channel country, and Hinchinbrook and Fraser islands.

Support The Echo

Keeping the community together and the community voice loud and clear is what The Echo is about. More than ever we need your help to keep this voice alive and thriving in the community.

Like all businesses we are struggling to keep food on the table of all our local and hard working journalists, artists, sales, delivery and drudges who keep the news coming out to you both in the newspaper and online. If you can spare a few dollars a week – or maybe more – we would appreciate all the support you are able to give to keep the voice of independent, local journalism alive.


  1. Most Landholders are true conservationists. Some are National Party Members! Why? Surely family political brainwashing has been rejected by the intelligent in our farming communities!


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Fresh faces for Council elections

A very distinct, black flat-cap has just been thrown into the ring for the upcoming Byron Council elections, pegged for September 4.

Follow the buck$

JK Mckenna, Burringbar Give Fast Buck$ his own column in the paper. Let him speak. Let him be heard. Let’s also see some accountability from councils...

A bouquet for Lilac House

L Jenkins, Byron Bay Nicole Habrecht should receive free paint and brushes and a pat on the back from Council for maintaining her house in a...

Bruns boarding house showdown Thursday

The stage is set for a crucial debate over the Brunswick Heads ‘Corso’ development in Byron Council this week, with staff recommending that the developer’s revised plans be approved.