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LNP MP Andrew Powell talks about the Great Barrier Reef report (Podcast Interview)

Update: Burke launches attack on Qld govt (Sunshine Coast Daily)

Update: Premier promises protection for reef
The Queensland Government will undertake a "strategic assessment" of the Great Barrier Reef to ensure coastal development is planned properly and doesn't compromise environmental standards. 

Premier Campbell Newman said the State Government wanted to strike the right balance between environmental protection and ensuring sustainable development could still occur in coastal areas. 

"A key component of the LNP's plan to grow a four pillar economy is the resources sector and we are focussed on supporting and growing this industry. However, we are also determined to protect the environment and the Great Barrier Reef for future generations to enjoy," Mr Newman said. 

"We will achieve this through the strategic assessment process that will enable us to more thoroughly plan development next to the Great Barrier Reef so we can minimise environment impacts. 

"That doesn't rule out future coastal development, but it does mean that development must be undertaken with one eye on the state's future prosperity and another on preservation of the reef." 

As part of the strategic assessment process, the Queensland Government will: 

• Prepare a ports strategy for the Great Barrier Reef; 
• Refine the Coastal Plan that includes the protection of areas of high ecological significance; 
• Develop Statutory Regional Plans to better manage land use issues; and 
• Conduct a review of the environmental offsets required of developments to ensure funds derived from the Great Barrier Reef region are used to tackle the most significant issues facing the reef. 

Mr Newman said the strategic assessment would be undertaken over the next 12 months and wouldn't delay any existing approved projects. 

"The strategic assessment will take a broad view of all current impacts on the reef and how the potential impacts of future development can be avoided, mitigated or offset," he said. 

"A str ategic assessment should also help minimise duplication of approvals and give more certainty to the industry. 

"I stress, we're not going to hold back the economic development of Queensland, but we are going to make sure that we protect the environment as these new projects come forward." 

Mr Newman said the Queensland Government recognised the national and international importance of the reef, and was committed to working with the Commonwealth to ensure this iconic landmark was preserved. 

"The strategic assessment will be an opportunity for Queensland to show the world that we are at the forefront of best practice environmental planning and to demonstrate that we have rigorous systems in place to protect the Great Barrier Reef now and into the future," he said. 

Minister for Environment and Heritage Protection

The Honourable Andrew Powell
Newman government taking care of the Great Barrier Reef
Following the release of the United Nations' World Heritage Council report into the Great Barrier Reef, Minister for Environment and Heritage Protection Andrew Powell has reinforced the Newman Government's commitment to protecting the world's largest living organism.
"The Great Barrier Reef is an important part of Queensland's extraordinary natural heritage and the LNP Government will ensure it continues to be one of the best managed marine protected areas in the world."
"The Reef is the world's largest living organism and an international tourism icon, supporting more than 50,000 jobs and injecting around $5 billion a year into our economy. The government is committed to restoring its health."
Minister Powell said the Great Barrier Reef was listed as a World Heritage Area on the basis it was a multiple use area and could accommodate development as long as it was sustainable and had no significant impacts on the World Heritage values.
"While the World Heritage area is available for sustainable use, the Reef has very high levels of protection through complementary Commonwealth and State Marine Park zoning plans," he said.
"I share the Premier's confidence that we will be able to demonstrate to the UN that we can work in coordination with our federal counterparts to ensure Queensland's economic growth while protecting our environment. Discussions will continue at Cabinet on Monday as to how we can achieve this with a particular focus on port developments."
"We have continually said that we will maintain high standards of environmental protection and, as we've seen with the Abbott Point proposal, where projects are not environmentally nor economically sound, the government will take action."
"While a wide range of management strategies are in place to protect the Reef, improving water quality is the single most important thing we can do."
"We are committed to the targets and outcomes of the Reef Water Quality Protection Plan signed originally in 2003. "
While Minister Powell acknowledged there had been a strong focus on areas such as Gladstone Harbour, he would ensure decisions regarding future development on the reef were based on scientific evidence in line with best environmental management practice.
"Gladstone is going through a major industrial development phase involving liquefied natural gas, dredging and coal terminal developments. These developments were only issued approval by State and Commonwealth Governments following a rigorous environmental impact assessment process.
"The government has indicated it will continue to work with the Australian Government on these issues, whilst removing unnecessary overlap and duplication in development assessment.
"I am confident that we can carefully manage these activities for the benefit of all Queenslanders, while ensuring the World Heritage values of the Great Barrier Reef are protected for the enjoyment of future generations."