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    Minister for Environment and Heritage Protection and Minister for National Parks and the Great Barrier Reef
    The Honourable Steven Miles

    New report reveals destructive impact of LNP's tree clearing legacy says Environment Minister

    Minister for Environment and Heritage Protection and Minister for National Parks and the Great Barrier Reef
    The Honourable Steven Miles

    Monday, February 29, 2016

    New report reveals destructive impact of LNP's tree clearing legacy says Environment Minister

    Minister for the Environment and Heritage Protection and Minister for National Parks and the Great Barrier Reef, Steven Miles has lashed the previous Newman Government after a damning new report found Queensland’s lax land clearing laws potentially undermined Australia’s ability to meet its emissions reduction targets. 

    The report by environmental services company CO2 Australia found Queensland land clearing rates were out-stripping the Federal Government’s Direct Action initiatives and threatened Australia’s chances of meeting the climate change targets it pledged in Paris last year, and possibly its Kyoto obligations.

    Dr Miles said the report also highlighted the inadequacy of the Federal Emissions Reduction Fund which had paid around $670m to buy 51m tonnes of land sector greenhouse gas abatement, even though Queensland’s land clearing would undo that in just three years.

    “This is the legacy the LNP left for us with their reckless and irresponsible approach to tree-clearing,’’ Dr Miles said. “Greg Hunt should talk to his state LNP colleagues and tell them to get on board, or he’s going to be left with $670m worth of egg on his face.

    “Queensland is now responsible for 90 per cent of the country’s emissions from land use. Some 36 million tonnes of emissions every year is caused by land clearing.

    “That more than wipes out the Commonwealth Government’s very expensive and very ineffective direct action fund—billions of taxpayers’ dollars. It puts in doubt our ability to meet our international targets.

    “The Federal Government were basically using Queensland’s best practice land clearing laws as a bargaining chip to give us ‘carry over’ emissions in the second round of the Kyoto process. Now because of the Newman Government, we may not meet our obligations at the 2020 deadline.”

    “The former Labor Government brought in good laws that saw land clearing drop to around 80,000 hectares. Of all of the fronts on which the LNP sought to trash Queensland’s environment, the worst was what they did on vegetation management,’’ he said.

    The Palaszczuk Government will be introducing new vegetation management laws to Parliament next month.

    “This Government is committed to return to sound protections for habitat in Queensland for the sake of the Great Barrier Reef, for the sake of our native flora and fauna and for the sake of our climate,” Dr Miles said.

    He said vegetation clearing produced greenhouse gas emissions and impacted on biodiversity, land degradation and water quality.

    “Keeping trees in the ground is a simple but effective way of contributing to Australia’s emissions reduction targets,’ Dr Miles said.

    “This isn’t about farmers vs conservation. Farmers stand to be hit hardest by the effects of climate change. They are the first to feel the impacts of the increase in the frequency of droughts and heat waves. They have to live with the difficulty in supplying water to their crop because of decreasing rainfall and runoff, and increasing temperature and evaporation,’’ he said.

    ENDS