Greens win conservation vote

THE Wide Bay Burnett Conservation Council says the Greens have top-scored on environmental questions put to Wide Bay and Hinkler candidates ahead of Saturday's federal election.

They were followed by Labor and then the Coalition, with other candidates not scoring at all.

Co-ordinator Emma-Kate Currie said the council had compiled an “Environmental Score Card” to compare candidates' policies on environmental issues.

“It is quite disappointing that we did not receive any detailed responses from either of the independents or the Family First candidates in Hinkler,” she said.

It was not clear from the release whether this criticism also applied to Wide Bay's One Nation or Family First candidates.

“Each responding party put forward a minimum of three sound environmental policies relevant to regional issues,” she said.

“The Greens Climate Change Policy detailed a greater level of commitment, via an emission reduction target of 40 per cent on 1990 levels by 2020 and a zero net emissions target by 2050.

“The Coalition detailed a commitment to biodiversity protection by allocating a proportion of the Green Army to revegetation projects along the Mary River in up to 25 sites around Traveston Crossing.

“The ALP demonstrated a continuing commitment to supporting and enhancing the Fraser Coast Biosphere, by funding $2 million a year under the Caring for Country grant to the Burnett Mary Regional Group, which was instrumental in creating the biosphere.”

Asked to detail how its policy would protect the regional environment, tourism and fishing industries from the impacts of future open cut coal mining and coal seam gasification proposals, the LNP responded with measures to protect the interest of prime agricultural land, with reference to the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act and how it must protect “matters of national environmental significance” such as World Heritage areas and wetlands listed under the Ramsar treaty.

The Greens policy response opposed any new coal mines or coal seam gasification and promised more rigorous environmental assessment for any current proposals.

“On issues of open cut mining and protection of marine parks from coal export, only the Greens made detailed commitments to protecting the environment but the ALP and Coalition committed to further fishing no-take zone consultation off Fraser Island,” Ms Currie said.

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