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ACF are seeking a commitment to establish an Office of Sustainability to conduct sustainability impact assessments on all major policies and with particular reference to primary industries, energy industries and the planning and infrastructure investments in cities and transport.
An Office of Sustainability would assist in achieving the best social, environmental and economic outcomes in the implementation of, for example, investment in public transport.
The Office of Sustainability would also provide advice to the Queensland Government in the lead up to the state budget each year, and make this available to the public as an annual Sustainability Report in an easily accessible form, covering the current and possible future ecological footprint of Queensland, while taking into account population and consumption trends, and assessing the overall ecological impact of Queensland.
To give clear and demonstrable effort to infrastructure and public transport commitments ACF asks that from a list of critical priority projects , there are at least four Sustainable Communities-Livable Cities demonstration projects established in the next term of government, spread across the cities in Queensland.
The national Sustainable Communities-Livable Cities program was allocated $20m over two years in 2011-12 federal budget to invest in planning, design and capital works programs including for demonstration of on mixed use precinct projects that optimise access to public transport and innovation in housing.
Queensland is well placed to lead a bold action plan that demonstrates in practice how cities can be transformed to substantially reduce waste, the unsustainable use of natural resources and our vulnerability to imported oil and transport fuel price shocks.
Investment by Queensland in co-financing demonstration precincts will enable Queensland citizens to see how the achievement of best practice sustainable in city planning, building design, waste management, and transport services not only provides significant benefits for the environment but also provides a better place to live. The renewal and transformation of cities is key to long term sustainability and our economic prosperity.
3.1 Establish a moratorium on Coal Seam Gas (CSG) mining until proper scientific studies are conducted.
ACF is very concerned about the potential impacts of CSG mining on the environment and the speed of development of the industry in Australia, when these impacts remain largely unknown. ACF calls on all political parties to find an appropriate balance that protects Queensland’s environment. However, such a balance cannot be found until the long term impacts of CSG mining are better known.
ACF asks that all political parties commit to a moratorium on all CSG mining in Queensland until proper scientific studies have been undertaken on the environmental effects of CSG mining and legislation is developed to better protect the environment.
3.2 Scale up the deployment of clean renewable energy in Queensland with the support of new national financing mechanisms including the Clean Energy Finance Corporation.
ACF calls on all parties to commit to develop clean energy, alternative and renewable technologies and fuels. There are significant opportunities for, and benefits of, a clean energy investment boom in Queensland. Detailed economic analysis shows that combining policies, like the $10 billion Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC) which can support massive new investment in clean energy projects in Queensland, combined with a price on carbon pollution could create over 165,000 additional new jobs in Queensland by 2030.
The CEFC alone could leverage up to $100 billion of private investment and help make Queensland a leader in clean renewable energy technology. Up to seven large-scale solar energy plants were proposed in Queensland under the Solar Flagships program, only one of which was successful – due to the limited supply of grant funding. The CEFC could provide the commercial funding required to not only build the remaining projects, but to also fire up Queensland’s bagasse and geothermal energy potential as well.
ACF seeks a commitment to an ambitious scaling up of renewable energy investment in Queensland, taking advantage of private sector investment that can be made available through a national Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC) nationally, with all of the long term benefits for Queensland.
3.3 Legislate a ban on nuclear power and uranium mining in Queensland
ACF asks that all political parties commit to maintaining the long standing prohibition on uranium mining in Queensland and to enshrine this commitment in legislation.
The nuclear industry is highly dangerous both in terms of its toxic threat to the environment and to human health. Uranium mining is a controversial and contaminating industry activity that poses serious and unresolved problems. It produces some of the most hazardous and long lived industrial wastes, the management of which remains an unresolved issue despite six decades of research, funding and promises.
Queensland must maintain the Nuclear Facilities Prohibition Act 2007 that bans nuclear power and radioactive waste dumping. Queensland’s long standing ban on uranium mining should continue and be reflected in dedicated legislation.
Return of Aboriginal homelands
Since 2004 a land tenure resolution process has enabled the return of over one million hectares of land to Traditional Owners on Cape York Peninsula under the Cape York Tenure Resolution Implementation Group (CYTRIG) which includes Indigenous representative bodies the Queensland Government and ACF. In addition to land being returned to Traditional Owners other positive outcomes include employment and economic opportunity in the cultural and natural resource management and tourism sectors. This is an important process where Indigenous and conservation interests are in agreement with positive win-win outcomes.
ACF asks all political parties commit to providing sufficient resources, alongside the 2011 commitment of funds by the federal government, to maintain the existing property acquisition and land tenure reform process on Cape York Peninsula, with the consent of Traditional Owners, and with the aim of completing the transfer of all outstanding properties and parks to Aboriginal ownership within the next term of government.