Boost for Gympie's future

WITH State Government help, the Gympie Region is on track to becoming an emerald green gem in Queensland's environmental crown, as well as a high growth residential area on the immediate fringe of South East Queensland.

Combined with a proposed State incentive to encourage first-home buyers to settle outside South East Queensland, which ends only a short distance south, Gympie Regional Council is considering its role in balancing this with a proposed environmental strategy.

The government has also offered its Ecofund operation as a source of advice on environmental offset measures, including greenhouse offsets.

A report this week from council's Environment Strategy Steering Committee says the committee has examined the likely strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats arising from such a policy or the lack of one.

The task is not necessarily a simple one, with a long list of significant environmental issues identified at this stage as crucial.

The include issues of waste management, land use planning, sustainable and environment-based tourism, water management, climate change, energy efficiency, education, biodiversity and improved community involvement.

Council's Planning and Development Committee has recommended council adopt a strategy, dealing with these areas of concern, to reviewed every three years.

The meeting also received a letter from the State Department of Environment and Resource Management, offering the services of its Ecofund Queensland operation.

Currently operating as a business unit within the DERM, Ecofund operates as “the sole supplier and broker of environmental and carbon offset services for all Queensland Government departments and statutory authorities.”

It also offers services to government-owned corporations, South East Queensland statutory water authorities and councils throughout the state.

The DERM letter promises a separate letter on Ecofund's “offset products and services.”

The new and complex field of environmental offset planning is a potential minefield for public administrators and private businesses, with likely complications in the area of “timely delivery, meeting regulatory requirements and identifying financial risks.”

It is not the first approach to council from consultants in the new field, with offers relating to a range of relevant issues including climate change adaptation and mitigation, koalas, vegetation, marine life and carbon trading.

These other consultancies include Arup, Earthtrade, Ecofund and Greening Australia.

The committee recommended council note the information.

Gympie Times

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