20 – Sustainable management of the Lake Eyre Basin rivers 199 Areas Legislative instrument Description Status and relevance to the Lake Eyre Basin rivers Environmental protection (continued) Regional Planning Interests Act 2014 (Qld) This provided a new legislative framework for dealing with ‘good quality agricultural land’ and areas of environmental significance. It defines a ‘Strategic Environmental Area’ (SEA) on either a map in a Regional Plan or as prescribed under a regulation. The ‘Channel Country of western Queensland’ is cited in the Act as an example of a Strategic Environmental Area. This Act allows for the resources industries to secure a ‘Regional Interests Development Approval’ (RIDA) for development in an SEA. It provides much weaker environmental protection than the repealed Wild Rivers Act. Environmental Protection Act 1994 (Qld) This legislation is for the protection of Queensland’s environment, allowing development that improves current and future quality of life, while maintaining critical ecological processes. It promotes ecologically sustainable development. It specifies details and requirements for environmental impact statements and development approval conditions. An amendment in 2016 requires the impacts of a petroleum and gas or mining operations to be assessed as part of the granting of an environmental authority before granting tenure. New mining and petroleum and gas projects must apply for a tenement under this legislation. Generally weak environmental legislation, unless there are major developments. It does not adequately deal with the cumulative impacts of development and small developments. It is not clear how well the new amendment will protect environmental values, including water. Sustainable Planning Act 2009 (Qld) replaced by Planning Act 2016 (Qld) This legislative instrument aims to integrate planning and development assessment for ecologically sustainable development. It does not constrain the functions and powers of the Coordinator-General, under the State Development and Public Works Organisation Actwhich , allows the Coordinator-General to manage and ‘fast track’ environmental assessment of projects, designated as ‘coordinated projects’ or projects of state significance. Reasonably weak coordinating legislation which may not effectively protect the environment. Amendments by the Liberal National Government (2012–15) refocused this legislation to allow development rather than managing the impacts of development on the environment. The development assessment provisions of the Sustainable Planning Act 2009 were carried over. The new legislation is intended to regulate efficient and effective land use planning and development assessment, while achieving ecological sustainability.
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