Opportunity to comment on the Logan City Draft River Wetlands Recovery Plan 2013 - 2023 closes Friday 30 May 2014
Logan City Council's Draft Logan Rivers and Wetlands Recovery Plan 2013-2023 is a Council document that will guide and facilitate the Plan Vision:
"Working together to support healthy rivers and wetlands that sustain Logan’s culture, lifestyle and livelihood"
This vision is to be achieved through three strategic outcomes which support community connection and stewardship; sustainable, best practice industry and innovation; and building the health and resilience of our waterway assets
Logan and Albert Conservation Association (LACA) commends the Council on its plan for river and wetlands recovery. The underpinning strategy of re-engaging the community with Logan’s rivers and their associated waterways is very sound and is deliverable over time through the beautification and access/engagement actions outlined in the Plan.
LACA does, however, have concerns related to the ongoing implementation of the plan with respect to rebuilding the natural values of the waterways.
These concerns are:
1. Current restoration practice on Slacks Creek, where extended areas of creek bank vegetation are being entirely removed and replanted in one action.
Clearing of weeds must be staged in order to retain biodiversity values along these sites over the restoration period, limit damage and erosion along to creek banks resulting from intense storm events (as has already occurred along a 200 metre stretch at Timothy Park).
In this respect much of the current restoration practice to date along Slacks Creek lacks consistency with the Recovery Plan’s Strategic Outcome 3: ‘Delivering iconic demonstration projects’.
2. The reference to the use of offsetting as a means of building/securing riparian corridors.
Offsetting represents a net loss of biodiversity across the city landscape. It is unacceptable to LACA to allow the sacrifice of one ecologically valuable natural area with the objective of securing another through an ‘offset process. Each area has unique ecological values and functions which cannot be replaced, and each must be strongly protected through regulation, not commodified and monetised to enable a landscape ‘transaction’ process to occur.
Furthermore, Council’s ‘ecological significance scoring’ – which provides the basis for calculating the ‘cost’ of offsetting - has been demonstrated by LACA (see submissions to the DLPS) to be significantly flawed and anomalous, due to Council’s failure to use the second stage ‘expert panel’ process to finesse 2007 BAMM derived GIS mapping data. This failure of due process has been exacerbated by unwillingness on the part of Council to build a genuine database by funding long term fauna/flora survey work across Logan.
3. Loss of valuable wetland area under the 2014 Planning Scheme:
LACA has noted that the area of the Loganholme Wetlands under Conservation Zone 11 in the 2006 planning scheme has been reduced in the 2014 Draft Planning Scheme – with certain private properties and other Council-owned areas now not covered by a conservation overlay. The removal of a conservation overlay from the private properties off Beenleigh Redland bay Road appears to be related to allowing full property development to occur off an extended Vincent Street.
Towards the river, Logan Water – not known for its environmental sensitivity - now has control of a large area of the wetlands.
The adjacent Council-owned section is proposed as an ‘animal safari’ site. Since this is 67% flood prone, Council may be inclined to allow filling of this site for the proposed safari zoo.
LACA asserts that these roll-backs of conservation intent across this important Logan River wetland are entirely inconsistent with the positive aspirations expressed in the ‘Strategic outcomes’ statement in Council’s Draft River Recovery Plan:
ENVIRONMENTAL: ‘The health and resilience of our creeks and wetlands has improved’ and ‘Desired regional outcomes and policies: Targets include restoring ecosystem health and ecological processes to waterways and maintaining and increasing wetland condition.’
To be consistent with Draft River Recovery Plan aspirations such as ‘With increasing pressure on our waterways, it is essential we protect, enhance and celebrate these natural assets’, LACA would urge Council to begin building a complete inventory of the associated waterways and wetlands which are crucial to the success of the plan.
In this respect LACA would see, for example, the inclusion and priority protection of Jerry’s Downfall/Flesser’s Reserve; Ferry Road Carbrook wetland to the river; Reidel Road Carbrook wetland to the river; Serpentine Creek to the river south of Beenleigh Redland Bay Road to the river; Loganholme wetlands to the river. Other associated wetlands and creek systems need to be identified and added to the inventory.
Of particular concern to LACA are the rollbacks of environmental protection discussed above and the threat of major road construction through Jerry’s Downfall and the general use of this and other wetland areas as corridors for power and other infrastructure.
All wetland and waterway areas need to be identified and prioritised for protection and ultimate ‘enhancement’ as part of the River Recovery process, before the Logan Planning Scheme is formally adopted.
The proposed use of offsetting to build and secure corridors along the city’s waterways must also be discussed.
Advice and provision of sound ecological advice around cost effective strategies which will help maintain biodiversity values both during and beyond the restoration stage must be secured from experts in the field - outside of council eg . Logan and Albert Conservation Association (LACA).
General comments: Use above information as a guide / suggestion for what you can say
Do you want feedback and preferred method.
If you require further information regarding this project or form, please contact council by:
Council has done a great job with this recovery plan - aside from the reservations LACA mentions above. We should tell them. Remember the summit from a few years ago? this is part of the outcome.
Logan City is home to a significant koala population and has one of the world’s largest koala conservation centres located at Daisy Hill Conservation Park. This facility is a Queensland state government conservation park. The social and economic value of koalas to our city and nation is difficult to quantify however, it is undoubtedly significant. This Koala Conservation Strategic Plan aims to ensure the long-term viability of koalas in Logan City and demonstrates Council’s commitment to koala conservation over the long term. How well does Logan do it now and will koalas in Logan and surrounding areas be protected by implementing this 10 year strategic plan 2013-2023?
Have your say on the Koala Conservation Strategic Plan by completing the online survey before Friday 16 May 2014.
In summary, the plan is based on achieving the following key strategic outcomes:
• SO 1 – Improved science of koala ecology and habitat requirements in Logan;
In Logan, koalas are most frequently sighted in the eastern suburbs of the city including Daisy Hill, Shailer Park, Carbrook, Priestdale and Cornubia. Residents of Greenbank, Logan Village, Browns Plains especially Berrinba Sanctuary, Jimboomba, Munruben, Mundoolan and others will not agree.
It is important to note that current data on koala presence in Logan is mostly anecdotal and not a result of targeted scientific surveys. Council has little knowledge of koalas from former Beaudesert areas and as there have been no funded onground field studies, residents reported sightings are regarded as "anecedotal".
• SO 2 – Increased quality protected koalahabitat in Logan;
To achieve a net increase in koala habitat in the city and South East Queensland it is essential that a regional approach is undertaken and areas of koalahabitat are connected through ecological corridors.
• SO 3 – Improved koalasafety and health;
Logan City is expected to grow by more than 200,000 residents over the next 20 years and beyond. Logan City will continue to be one of the fastest growing areas in Queensland with dramatically increasing urban development and increasing pressure on the natural environment and koala habitat.
• SO 4 – Increased positive community engagement and awareness of koala conservation actions.
To achieve the strategic outcomes of this Plan it is essential that it is supported by an active, engaged and supportive community including residents, land owners, businesses and the Development industry
The online survey basically asks you to answer same 4 questions about each outcomes
1. Are these actions the right actions to ....
2. Are there any actions that need to be changed to .....
3. Are there any additional actions you think we should be doing?
4. What ideas do you have to support the delivery of these actions?
and finally any extra comments. Please consider a submission regarding any point / points you are concerned about.
These could include -
Importance of using best possible and latest mapping. ie SEQCatchments Koala Habitat Map for Logan - with Regrowth map and Observations, Genome Barrier and Pinch Point Maps as has been done for Brisbane City Council.
Koala policies, programs, zones, map layers and legislation should be included in town plan not merely as offsets opportunities
Undertake and publish Natural Areas Management Plans
Invest in Koala Research
Use citizen scientist programs like Great Koala Count to track sightings and include results in mapping
Develop stronger land stewardship programs with community to reward incentivise residents to retain and extend bushland habitat.
Place higher value on existing habitat with existing koala populations being retained in perpetuity for wildlife ie such areas are not suitable for industry and housing developments. Rezoning of such land at Browns Plains for conservation is critical if Logan wants to consider itself - and be considered by others as a "proactive koala-friendly" community
Educating community on living with wildlife - especially koalas has to be a high priority to remove any misconceptions that exist
PLEASE MAKE A SUBMISSION IF YOU CARE ABOUT KOALAS WHEREVER THEY MAY BE. MUCH MORE NEEDS TO BE DONE IF WE DO NOT WANT TO SEE THE LOCAL EXTINCTION OF KOALAS IN LOGAN AND SOUTHEAST QUEENSLAND.
Koalas in SEQ are not protected and there in no connectivity not in Logan's new planning. The new Queensland Government SPP is a disaster for koalas and wildlife.
DECLARATION as ENDANGERED is needed. It won't happen unless community makes it happen!!
Please send your submission asap
Your choice to complete online - or write your signed submission and send to
Chief Executive Officer Logan City Council PO Box 3226 Logan City DC Qld 4114
While both Logan and state government support an OFFSET scheme to "pay for" koala habitat to be cleared, neither Logan and Albert Conservation Association LACA nor Australian Koala Foundation AKF supports a general offset policy,
The Australian Koala Foundation has recently requested a change to Australia’s environmental offset system, which poses serious issues for the conservation of koalas. The current system allows the government to approve environmentally damaging building projects if the business pledges to make up for destruction of native habitat by providing similar habitat elsewhere. Deforestation has led to the decline in the genetic diversity of koalas, but has also increased disturbance, injury, stress, and competition for food or territory due to overcrowding. It also creates barriers that prevent koalas from roaming for mating purposes, and the addition of another habitat does not even ensure that koalas will migrate there.
The koala is considered a threatened species in three parts of Australia, but their habitat is being destroyed by removing irreplaceable foliage that they depend on. The destruction of native habitat creates major gaps or breaks across the koalas’ landscape. A recent study from the University of Queensland revealed the importance of maintaining at least 30% of forest land to ensure the koalas' survival. Results point to the importance of the species access to wide landscapes, because habitat isolation can threaten genetic diversity which is necessary to conservation. Researchers found that genetic diversity “dropped rapidly” once the country’s amount of forest land fell under 30%. It is important that the Australian government take measures to increase the amount of forest land to a level suitable for conserving the rapidly declining species koalas.
Many thanks to all the wildlife carers who rescue rehabilitate and release - from turtles to owls to koalas and kangaroos. They are always confronted with issue - where to they release and they are required to relocate to home territories of each animal. Will this endanger the wildlife - koala or other again. Lets reduce the risk by having a good conservation strategy - with teeth - in our town planning. Up to us to ask. Council does not have all the answers.
Environmental Submission writing kit for the Draft Logan Planning Scheme
due: deadline 5 pm Wednesday 30 April
Logan and Albert Conservation Association have 5 key concerns relating to the strategic planning that underlies the planning documents. We have explained the background behind each concern and make a recommendation for how those values - which are core values for our organisation - could be improved. Please read the following document to read all 5 points. The first 3 points are covered in the pdf document lower down the page. Regional biodiversity corridors and Priority Development Areas (PDAs) are the last 2 points added.
Do not include attachments (which would have to be digitally signed) unless you need to
Submissions must be properly-made for Council to consider your feedback. A properly made submission means:
• You must include the full name and address of each person making the submission
• Submissions must state the grounds for the submission and the facts or circumstances to support the grounds. See text in red below
Apart from email submissions (preferred) written submissions - posted letters or email attachments, but NOT emails, must be signed by each person making the submission
Submissions can also be made Via post to Logan City Council, PO Box 3226, Logan City DC, Qld 4114, but have to arrive by 5 pm Wednesday 30 April
Significant environmental concerns to comment on include
Koala mapping not included as statutory overlay in Draft Planning Scheme
Offsetting and the Council’s flawed Ecological Significance scoring
Limited locally significant flora and fauna mapping
Background information for each is provided to explain why Logan and Albert Conservation LACA and others are concerned.
1. Koala mappingnot included as statutory overlay in Draft Planning Scheme
Background: While out of date mapping of Koala habitat does appear in the Draft Planning Scheme, this is not legally supported mapping (ie not statutory) and therefore has little chance of being defended in a court challenge.
This is because, while the Draft Logan Planning Scheme (DLPS) must adhere to the State Government’s ‘Single State Planning Policy (SPP)’, there is no requirement in this for the Council to incorporate statutory Koala mapping in the planning scheme.
Therefore there is no legal support in the planning scheme for the protection of koalas in the DLPS. This again underscores how hollow the State Government’s concerns are for protecting the environment – where they say they will ‘protect’ but then provide legislation which is toothless. However, by putting a comment on this into your submission you help send a strong message to both Council and the State Government that the community wants stronger legal protection for Koalas and their habitat in Queensland.
2. Offsetting and the Council’s flawed Ecological Significance scoring
Background: So-called ‘offsetting’ is now a core part of State Government ‘environmental’ policy. It is emerging as their principle propaganda tool around environment issues in Qld. Yet it is a ‘sleight-of-hand’ process that results in a net loss of biodiversity each time it occurs. It is a way of soothing concern over development in critically sensitive areas by promising that something will be done in the future to balance (and somehow make acceptable) the loss of crucial wetlands, rainforest, reef etc. The State Government is now so chuffed about the righteousness of this idea that they are even pointing to the possibility of National Parks being ‘offset’ if a coal miner wants to take them out. The Federal Government supports this too. Five million tonnes of port dredge spoil dumped on the Great Barrier Reef will now be OK because Federal Minister Hunt has said this can offset by reducing the flows of sediment out of the Burdekin River – a vague promise into the future that will more than likely never happen in any real sense. ‘Environmental offsets’ can more accurately be called ‘environmental setbacks’.
Council has devised its own ‘offsets’ policy based on ecological scores for each property across the Logan landscape. To do this they have created an ‘ecological significance’ map which assigns ecological values to various ecosystems across Logan. The trouble is most of this was ‘desk top’ – based on mapped and recorded data that was already 7 or more years old. There is little inclusion of fauna and flora survey data and other knowledge that has been recorded for Logan since 2007. We have found significant flaws, deficiencies and anomalies in the Council’s ecological scoring, which will be directly used to calculate the ‘cost’ of an offset to a developer. As a result, there are potentially many high biodiversity areas in Logan that score very low (therefore cheap to offset) just because amazing new data since 2007 hasn’t been included. We cannot support the concept of offsetting and we certainly should not, by omission, give tacit approval to an offset policy that is based on flawed and deficient data.
3. Limited locally significant flora and fauna mapping
Background: Logan has responsibility for a number of rare and endangered plant and animal species that require attention through the Planning Scheme if they are to survive the next decade on our watch. So it is alarming that the Draft Planning Scheme has only mapped two ‘locally significant’ threatened plant species (Gossia gonoclada and Melaleuca irbyana), and one ecosystem type (vine forest) as worthy of special consideration under the new Planning Scheme, which will be operative possibly until the mid 2020s.
By then it may be too late to do anything about the vulnerable to extinction Persicaria elatior, a flowering plant that is now only recorded in tiny numbers in one site in Logan City and nowhere else in mainland Queensland. And it may be too late to provide tree hollow homes in old growth trees for the Powerful Owl, which helps control flying fox numbers. And the endangered Glossy Black Cockatoo may not find any of its special food trees left anywhere in Logan. And rapid clearing of essential habitat for the endangered Quoll will mean this very special marsupial may needlessly disappear from this part of Australia, on our watch. And of course there is the Koala.
Mapping the location of the essential habitat of these plants and animals across Logan adds another check on reckless clearing of sites critical to the survival of these species. It is not enough for the planning scheme to recognise only two plant species with special mapping - there are a number of other plants and animals that need ongoing layers of protection provided by statutory mapping in the Planning Scheme.
In your email submission, you could copy and paste the text in red below the background, or say the same things in your own words.
Make sure you include the second part - ‘My proposed change to the Draft Logan Planning Scheme’
It is important that you make a submission to protect the biodiversity of our region - the flora and fauna - endangered threatened rare and common that together with our waterways make SOUTH EAST QUEENSLAND the special ecological region that it is.
After pressure from EDO Qld last year, the Queensland government was stopped from rushing through changes to your rights without due process. Now, this year, the Queensland government released the 'Mining Lease Notification & Objection discussion paper'. The discussion paper - currently open for public submission - outrageously proposes to restrict community rights to object to mining applications and proposes in effect that up to 90% ofmining projects will have no public notification at all.
EDO has prepared documentation that you may like to consider when making a valid submission. It is important to include name and address of persons making the submission and usually a signature is required.
Please read the Mining lease notification and objection initiative — discussion paper before making your submission. Submissions close at 5.00pm, Friday 28 March 2014.
It is intended submissions will be provided to the Office of Best Practice Regulation in support of Regulatory Impact System consideration. If you wish to remain anonymous, this should be clearly noted on your submission.
Submissions can be made by email or post.
By mail: MQRA Program Team Department of Natural Resources and Mines Level 7, 61 Mary Street, Brisbane PO Box 15216 City East, Brisbane, QLD 4001
The government says that out of about 100 mining lease applications each year, about 10% are declared to be high risk. This means that for 90% of mining projects in Queensland, there will be no community submission and objection rights at all. What’s more, there will be no public notification of these ‘lower risk’ projects so you may not even be aware they are underway.
There is nothing in the paper about how the government intends to address the cumulative impacts of many hundreds if not thousands of ‘low risk’ mining projects take place across Queensland.
I’m concerned about what is being proposed, what can I do?
Everyone has the right to send written submissions to the State Government.
The submission deadline is 28 March 2014.
Download EDO sample submission. This is a docx document. Contact Logan and Albert Conservation Association LACA Vice President at kfaldt@gmail if you require format doc
“As with any development be it mining, resources, agriculture, environmental and living, it impacts on all of us in one way or another. The stewardship of any country is the responsibility of the whole community and certainly, not just the government of the day". Quote by Central Queensland Grazier
Lots of supporting businesses /groups helping to make this an enjoyable day out by providing gifts and give-aways. A very special thank you will be a Geckoes Wildlife Presentation
We encourage locals to come down not only to contribute to the health of our local environment, through removing substantial amounts of rubbish, but also to see the displays of local organisations and mingle with the community and like-minded people.
You may even have a project that you think our community should be aware of, so come on down meet our community and Councillors and share your ideas around the free community BBQ, proudly sponsored by Logan City Council, Greenbank Rural Fire Brigade, Queensland Rural Fire Services, Oxley Creek Catchment Association, Middle Green Sports Inc., Logans Heroes, Active Kids Early Learning Centre, Harvey’s Mechanical & Towing, Roger Moore Splicing, Homestead Markets, Ollie's Orange Country Market, K T’s Hair & Beauty, David Sykes Carvings, Greenbank Takeaway and the Port of Brisbane Rotary Club.
So concerned for koalas is the International Fund for Animal Welfare IFAW they have an online petition to Peter Wright Director, Species Information and Policy Section, Department of Environment concerning the Draft EPBC Act referral guidelines for koalas.
LACA Logan and Albert Conservation Association agrees with IFAW's conclusion that
If the government's Koala Referral Guidelines get the green light, it will legalise the destruction of vital koala habit. We urgently need your help as the 7th February deadline to prevent further koala deaths is looming. Let’s find a way to stop the bulldozers.
The latest proposed 'referral guidelines' are just another nail in the coffin, putting profit before protection. We need your help to let the Government know that this approach isn't good enough and that they must do much more if we are to save this precious Aussie icon.
Please write to the Government today making your views known. IFAW have drafted a submission the text follows below.
I am writing to you as an Australian animal lover to express my deep concern about the draft referral guidelines for koalas (combined populations of Queensland, New South Wales and the Australian Capital Territory).
These draft guidelines are not robust enough to ensure that potentially damaging developments are submitted for referral and scrutiny.
• Many areas important to the survival of koalas in urban and semi-urban areas are deemed not to need referral. • The scoring system for determining which koala habitats are referred is flawed, with only habitats achieving high scores of 8+ needing to be referred, ignoring those still critical koala habitats that may not make the grade. • Cumulative impacts have been completely ignored.
These draft guidelines would potentially allow extremely risky and damaging developments to proceed without proper assessment and without the opportunity for community or public scrutiny and consultation. This is a recipe for the continued demise of koala populations.
The threatened species referral measures under the EPBC Act need to be applied with rigour and a high degree of precaution and priority if they are to have any impact in protecting koalas. These guidelines are a step in the opposite direction – opening the door for unsustainable development to destroy habitats vital for koala survival.
As a priority a robust National Recovery Plan for the koala must be developed and implemented. This must include follow-up mechanisms to guarantee the continuation and improvement of coordinated management and conservation efforts for the species, ensuring that the populations not covered by the EPBC Act also are considered.
Australian Koala Foundation has also condemned the Draft EPBC Act referral guidelines for koalas.
Save the koala media release is scathing of the guidelines and their intention ending
“We have little faith that the EPBC Act or these guidelines will achieve much for the Koala. Indeed the only reason we have made this submission is to ensure our position is on the record. The only way to achieve true protection for the Koala will be to get the Koala Protection Act passed in Federal Parliament. And we will,” says Tabart.
Time is short but a short submission is all that is needed.
Guidelines website linked here states "These draft guidelines have been developed in consultation with Koala experts, ecological consultants and state government representatives. The public comment period provides an opportunity for wider consultation with stakeholders. Feedback is welcomed on all aspects of the guidelines and all comments received will be considered in the finalisation of this document."
Comments may be submitted in an Excel, Word or PDF format. Comments must be submitted to:
However, is it too little, too late? The Government at all levels has known what to do to ensure a sustainable coexistence between koalas and humans for decades, yet has chosen instead to prioritise anthropological development over the protection of prime koala habitat and the preservation of a national icon. Wildlife Queensland lives in hope that appropriate action will be taken before it is too late. Our children’s children should have the right to view the koala in the wild.
Recently some 30 Logan residents spent a day expanding their knowledge about our wetlands. The day began at 8am with several powerpoint presentations relating to wetland vegetation, water quality, fish habitat and bird habitat, and also included a Berrinba Wetlands Walkabout.
During the presentations we learnt what elements of a wetland are beneficial to Australian native wildlife and what we can be doing on our property to help convert our dam into a nature refuge during times of drought.
It was offered as part of the Logan and Albert Rivers Catchment Association's, "Wetland Management on Private Property in Logan" Project. The invitation was extended to all who registered interest at one of the display stalls at the Logan Environmental Action Festivals (LEAF).
A bus tour was included and we visited several public wetlands within Logan City Council, including:
JJ Smith Recreation Corridor
Springfield Mountain Wetlands.
Next will be a site visit to a private property to showcase a property which has had no revegetation effort and is just starting out, so this landholder would like to receive advice for further action which would improve habitat for wildlife.
Last visit will be to a private property to inspect established revegetation efforts and offer advice for further action which would improve habitat for wildlife.
Logan and Albert Conservation Association aka LACA's water and wetlands management person Barry Fitzpatrick shared his extensive knowledge about vegetation and processes for revegetation for wetland areas. He has been observing and recording Cornubia Wetlands processes for several years.
Image and diagram aside are provided by Barry. Detailed information about plants is available in our essential plant reference tool Mangroves to Mountains with local botanist Glenn Leiper being a contributing author.
Suggested planting guide includes plants generally occurring across Logan - Albert Catchment. Selection is influenced by on soil types, steepness of slope down to water, general typography, climate etc.
Logan residents are being encouraged to keep an eye out for koalas during an annual community koala survey.
Over the weekend of 19-20 October residents will be asked to send in details of any koalas they come across in the bush, either in urban locations or rural areas.
Health, Environment and Sustainability Committee Chair Cr Trevina Schwarz said the weekend was about raising awareness of the region's most iconic residents and the importance of maintaining koala habitat corridors across the city.
"We know that koalas inhabit many areas within Logan City and it is essential that we continue to build our knowledge of their distribution and numbers," she said.
"During the sighting period, residents are asked to note down the locations and times of sightings and then report them to Council by phone or through Council's website.
"We urge residents to report as much information as they can – from size, location, health, behaviour, sex and species of tree; a photograph is also useful.
"While koalas do tend to spend most of their days asleep in trees or grazing, spring time is also mating season and they can be expected to be a little more active than usual – keep an ear our for their distinctive grunts at all hours of the day."
Cr Schwarz said the survey, now in its third year in Logan, was a good way to gather information on koala distribution not just in Logan but across the region.
"It's important that we make sure we regularly build a snapshot of koala distribution across the city to understand movement patterns and try to help manage urban growth across the city," she said.
"We are also partnering with Redland City Council, Moreton Bay Regional Council and the Koala Action Group to conduct surveys on the same day in an effort to build some regional information on koala movements between cities.
"This information is added to Council records and will assist with refining future whole of city koala population.
"Conservation isn't just for zoos, it's something we can all play a part in, even by just looking up during your morning bush walk or keeping an eye out when working on your property.
"I strongly encourage all residents to mark the weekend in their calendars and start to keep an eye out for koalas in their communities."
Any sighting/s can be reported to Council either on 38201103
The Coalition has made a pre-election commitment to 'fast track' pending international free trade deals by doing what the current Labor Government has stubbornly refused to do: accept dangerous legal provisions which will allow transnational corporations to sue Australia in off-shore tribunals - away from our own legal system - if our environmental and other public interest regulations get in the way of their profits.
If the Coalition is elected and pushes ahead with this commitment, we will almost certainly see the death of environmental campaigning as we know it in this country, along with significant weakening of environmental regulation.
The Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) is a huge free trade deal due to be signed off by Australia in October this year, and comes fully armed with corporate powers to sue participating nations in off-shore tribunals, known as Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) provisions.
Under earlier free trade deals, including the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA – the model for the TPPA), corporations like Chevron, Exxon Mobil, Dow Chemical, and Cargill had, by 2011, launched 450 investor-state cases in off-shore tribunals against 89 governments to fight environmental laws and regulations, including
challenges to bans on toxic chemicals, fracking, timber, mining regulations and programs
supporting green jobs and renewable energy.
Recent examples include the US Lone Star Mining company currently using ISDS provisions in NAFTA to sue the Canadian Quebec provincial government because it has suspended coal seam gas fracking pending a study of its environmental impact, and Peru, which has recently been required to pay Renco the largest ever damages award of USD$ 4.2 billion for banning products that had contaminated the city of La Oroya's environment and poisoned 95% of children there.
There are many, many more examples.
The threats posed by ISDS provisions in free trade agreements clearly impose a 'regulatory chill' effect on nations wanting to avoid the ongoing costs of defending their public interest regulations in off-shore tribunals away from their own jurisdictions.
There have been some 450 ENVIRONMENTAL DISPUTES arising out of previous free trade agreements which include ISDS provisions similar to those proposed for the TPPA: By the end of 2011, corporations like Chevron, Exxon Mobil, Dow Chemical, and Cargill had launched 450 investor-state cases against 89 governments, including the US, to fightcommon-sense environmental laws and regulations. Among these cases were challenges to bans on toxic chemicals, fracking, timber,mining regulations, programs that incentivised green jobs and renewable energy programs.
Recently Peru has been required to pay Renco the largest ever damages award of USD$ 4.2 billion for banning products that had contaminated the La Oroya, Peru environment and had poisoned 95% of children there. An incredible outcome protecting the polluter!!