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World Environment Day clashes with Australian land-clearing week

5 June 2015 is World Environment Day, but you wouldn't know it in Australia as State and Federal Governments pave the way for inappropriate and highly environmentally damaging land-clearing. This week media reports have detailed the Federal Government's approval for significant clearing of Critically Endangered woodlands in the Hunter Valley and lack of oversight on potentially illegal broad-scale clearing in Cape York, permitted by the former Queensland Government in direct contravention of national environment law.

The Federal Environment Department has just given mining company Coal and Allied the green light to clear 535 hectares of White Box-Yellow Box-Blakely's Red Gum Grassy Woodland and Derived Native Grassland, a Critically Endangered ecological community listed under the Commonwealth Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act). The community has been recognised as Critically Endangered since 2006, primarily due to a decline in geographic distribution, and since that time numerous developments have chipped away at what remains. Permitting a further 535 vital hectares to be cleared for a single project indicates the Government is loath to use its habitat protection powers effectively.

"This is a unique and incredibly important ecosystem that has been absolutely smashed by development. More than 93% of the woodlands have been cleared since European settlement, yet the Commonwealth has justified the destruction of a further 535 hectares by requiring a biodiversity offset management plan and vegetation clearance protocols - simply inappropriate measures for Critically Endangered habitats,” said Humane Society International (HSI) Senior Program Manager Evan Quartermain. "This decision goes directly against the Threatened Species Scientific Committee's conservation advice as well as the Recovery Plan prepared for the ecological community by the Department itself, both of which recognise that with around 5% of the woodland left, protecting what remains is the only chance of survival,” stated Mr Quartermain.

Similarly bad news has surfaced in Cape York, where clearing of 33,000 hectares of habitat for the buff-breasted button-quail (the only known Australian bird to have never been photographed in the wild) and at least 17 other threatened species listed under the EPBC Act was permitted in the dying days of the former Queensland Government. Any action that may significantly impact on an EPBC Act listed species requires Commonwealth referral, yet neither the Newman Government nor the pastoral company that owns the land in question did so.

"This is a private business being allowed to destroy core habitat for a range of legislatively protected Matters of National Environmental Significance for their own personal gain. That such major clearing was not referred to the Federal Government is a blatant disregard of procedure and works must be immediately halted and swift investigation and action undertaken. What is the point of legislation if the powers at be don't have the teeth or intent to enforce it? It's a mockery and embarrassment,” Mr Quartermain concluded.

Humane Society International, 5th June 2015

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Last month the ABC revealed that just days before the January election Campbell Newman's LNP government approved the clearing of nearly 32,000 hectares of land on Olive Vale station, in a decision that was not publicly announced. The Queensland government has now stepped in by asking the Commonwealth government to stop the bulldozers!

The Newman government allowed the land to be cleared, in secrecy.
Conservationists say the land in and around Olive Vale is worthy of world heritage listing, is home to 17 listed threatened species, and includes important rivers flowing into the Great Barrier Reef. It's the highest volume of clearing in Queensland, and was for "high quality agriculture". There's nothing high quality about the decision-making process!

ABC: Queensland government steps in to stop Olive Vale land clearing
Australia is under pressure to "feed the world", it seems, due to declining agricultural output, and human overpopulation. "Food security" is an economic opportunity for Australia!!

This region is “smack in the middle of core habitat” for the endangered buff-breasted button-quail.

Ryan Global won approval days before the election in January to clear land mostly to grow sorghum to feed cattle and expand its numbers on the property from 15,000 to 25,000 beasts. “The blank cheque granted to the proponent to clear over 30,000 hectares of Cape York is astonishing" said ACF program manager Andrew Picone. Nothing promotes lawlessness like filthy lucre!

The Guardian: Endangered Quail threatened by controversial Queensland land clearing

The company that owns the station, Olive Vale Pastoral, told the ABC last month that the clearing would help create dozens of jobs on Cape York.

There are plenty of "jobs" being created through crime, and a lot of unwanted and ugly means. With rising crime and terror, "jobs" are being created right through the law enforcement process, to the courts, legal system, and prisons. There's prostitution, the sex industry, pornography, drugs, gambling - and environmental vandalism!

"Jobs" don't justify all human activities. Why would you justify "jobs" when it would eventually add to droughts, loss of native species, and destruction of Nature - the system of rivets that and fasteners that keep the machinery of ecological benefits functioning?

If there's an overburden of unemployment, why propagate the skilled immigration program and create the illusion overseas that we have "skills shortages" - and then justify environmental destruction?

Read more at AWPC website

Any Environmental Day in Australia is laughable, in the land of mass exterminations and heavy land clearing.

But Mr Hunt said he had instructed his department to investigate whether the land clearing on Olive Vale station complied with the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act. Let's hope that Hunt actually stops this destruction and acts actually as an Environment Minister!

Australia emissions rising and vastly underestimated, says report – ‘It defies logic. This is a major discrepancy that can’t be brushed off with the same inadequate explanations used so far.’

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Monday, March 21, 2016

By Michael Slezak18 March 2016 (The Guardian) – The latest federal government carbon emissions inventory shows Australia has increased its emissions and has come under fire for allegedly vastly underestimating the amount of land clearing that has occurred, and its associated emissions. The Quarterly Update of the National Greenhouse Gas Inventory Report, which counts emissions in Australia up to September 2015, says greenhouse gas emissions from land clearing have fallen to record lows. But Guardian Australia reported last month that a report commissioned by the Wilderness Society showed a land clearing surge in Queensland since 2012 has been so big that it would create emissions roughly equal to those saved by the federal government’s emissions reduction scheme, where they paid other farmers more than $670m to stop cutting down trees.