In August, the Queensland Government in Australia repealed the territory’s 2005 Wild Rivers Act, which protected natural rivers from strip mining, agriculture, and in-stream dams. These development restrictions in the Wild Rivers Act were declared invalid during a federal court case in June. The area no longer protected by the act includes four basins: Archer, Lockhart, Stewart, and Wenlock. Rivers will now be protected under the new Regional Interest Planning Act. Formerly protected sites will be considered “strategic environmental areas,” and planning decisions for these areas will be made by local or state-level authorities. According to the Queensland government, this will reduce complexity for development and offer greater community control. However, environmentalists and some scientists warn that the new legislation repeals buffer zones and makes Queensland’s natural rivers vulnerable to development and increased irrigation.
January 7, 2015
October 6, 2011