There must be a Federal election around the corner. As a Queensland resident the signs are evident. A lead up of environmental policy announcements on the grand scale; fodder to take to the bargaining table to gain Greens party preferences and material to place in slick election advertising to entice votes from voters living far from where these grand environmental policies will be implemented; the provision of a warm fuzzy of saving the environment at no greater effort than marking the correct box on a piece of paper in the polling booth.
The 20 year rule of the Beattie/ Bligh Qld Labor governments had every election cycle punctuated by yet another uncompensated taking of the rights and imposts on the management of remote, regional and rural areas owned or managed by aboriginals, pastoralists, farmers, foresters, fishers and tree changers. Peter Beattie was a very clever politician and as Premier of Qld recognised the country/ city divide that had developed and instead of a statesman like attempt to bring people together used this divide to very successfully exploit political advantage. Beattie recognised that his power base was in the very SE corner of the state and a few pockets along the coast, the people inland were that few in comparative electoral numbers that not only could he ignore but to vilify into environmental vandals creating environmental problems that he the Premier would solve.
The maps below were prepared by AgForce in March 2012 found from a document called, Key Environmental Constraints Affecting Queensland Agriculture. All but one of the policy developments, (CSG), shown in the smaller images arose out of pre-election promises. Coal seam gas highlighted the absolute hypocrisy of the Beattie/ Bligh era attitude to environmental issues.
On the election of their defeat the Bligh government presented the proposed Border to Beach Wildlife Corridor. It had all the appearances of haste and political desperation, of indiscriminate scrawling of a line across a map of a state from a Brisbane office. It had no credibility, no knowledge of on ground circumstances, the majority of the land would have been imposed upon private landowners over approximately 29,153,810 ha or 16.83% of the State.
So what are the signs of a federal election around the corner? The Murray/ Darling plan has been signed off, but to be fair this has been a protracted negotiation and not a recent development. The Tasmanian forest “peace deal” which will bring no peace had a high Federal government involvement. Again like the Murray/ Darling a long running issue but both will be used to bolster the government’s environmental credentials.
There is the Illegal Logging Prohibition Bill which as was the Queensland Vegetation Management Act is championed as an environmental saviour but the legislation contains the loss of civil liberties and rights that Australians take for granted and would be surprised at their removal. There are the Commonwealth Marine Reserves and then the National Wildlife Corridors plan. The later as proved the case in the Queensland situation will prove to be the indicator of desperation in the face of electoral annihilation.
All the above Federal environmental policies deserve closer attention in following articles.
Finally look at the large map above in the image prepared by AgForce and ask these few questions. With cumulative impacts by multiple legislation where can your food be sourced from; the fibres that clothe you and the timbers that form your shelter? What is the sense of complete removal of sourcing our needs from vast areas of land and oceans only to move to concentrated areas in Australia or to overseas where in the latter case there may be no environmental consideration? Would it not be better to have a lighter ‘touch’ of a very large area of our resource base? Why as a nation that we can’t develop sound, considered environmental policy without indiscriminate destruction of people’s rights, livelihoods and loss of community?