Last month, Queensland’s minister for Environment and Heritage Protection and minister for National Parks and the Great Barrier Reef, Dr Stephen Miles MP, introduced the Nature Conservation and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2015 to the Queensland Parliament.
The purpose of this Bill is to reverse many of the changes introduced by the previous Newman government, thereby restoring protections to many of Queensland’s protected areas.
Any amendments to the Nature Conservation Act may have implications for users of protected areas such as National Parks, but there is only a small period of public consultation available in which interested parties can provide feedback, which is due to close on November 30.
One such opportunity is being hosted by the Queensland Outdoor Recreation Federation (QORF) on November 23 at Sports House, 150 Caxton Street in Milton. Pitched as a ‘discussion forum’, this event may be a rare opportunity for avid outdoor users to hear how the new Bill may affect them and to raise any resulting concerns.
Executive officer for QORF, Dom Courtney said that anyone who regularly uses any protected area in Queensland will have an interest in the new legislature, and should therefore consider attending the forum.
“Since introducing this Bill, the government has mostly consulted with representatives of indigenous groups, conservation, tourism, agriculture, resources and petroleum industries, so it’s critical that other independent users such as bushwalkers, bird watchers, rock climbers, horse riders and others have a chance to be heard,” he said.
“While there may not be any large cause for concern in the proposed amendments, we want to make sure there aren’t any unintended consequences for recreational users when reversing these changes. QORF is encouraging people to understand the draft Bill, and contribute to QORF’s submission to the committee, or make their own submissions to the committee.”
Likewise, the National Parks Association of Queensland (NPAQ) has also notified its members of the submissions deadline and is inviting them to make a direct submission to the state parliament’s Agriculture and Environment Committee before November 30.