Deputy Premier: I’ve spoken to Mayor about repealed laws
Deputy Queensland Premier Steven Miles says he has been assured by Gympie Mayor Glen Hartwig of the council’s commitment to koala protection as criticism mounts over its decision to remove two environment planning laws late last year.
The Deputy Premier and Planning Minister has been urged by environmental groups to step in and overturn the repeal of the two temporary planning instruments last December.
The decision sparked protests and outcry, including an online petition with more than 44,000 signatures asking Mr Miles to use his powers under the Planning Act to intervene.
This week the Wide Bay Burnett Environment Council renewed the push for State involvement, whether by reinstating the laws or expanding the government’s own southeast koala habitat protection laws.
Mr Miles said yesterday he had “spoken to the Mayor who assured me that koala protection was a priority for the council, just as it is the State Government”.
“I’m advised the council has established a Koala Habitat Development Strategy Reference Group to look at ways koala protection can be improved within the council’s planning scheme,” Mr Miles said.
“The State Government is also working with the council to consider additional measures the council could put in place.”
The council said the laws were repealed amid concerns they were having unintended consequences on what would have been otherwise acceptable development within the region.