A memo sent to employees of Queensland’s Parks and Wildlife Service raises the possibility of the Newman government allowing mining and coal seam gas in the state’s national parks, conservation areas and state forests and urges them to think more positively about such uses.
The memo, signed by acting deputy director-general, Anne Moody, states:
“Some other key challenges that we need to address are:
- Our responsiveness to “industry” and their access to State land for resource use and activities (e.g., Coal Seam Gas and mining)………….”
She then goes on to say:
“To implement this agenda, we must all think in the first instance about how, within our delegations, we can support and allow an activity to happen, rather than reasons why it can’t. We must work to break down perceptions that we are preventing access and locking up the land we manage. Your positive support of the agenda helps to dispel these perceptions at all levels of government and in the broader community.”
President of the Lock the Gate Alliance, Drew Hutton, said he was shocked by the message conveyed in the memo and found it impossible to believe that the acting director-general would be conveying such a message to parks and wildlife officers without clear direction from departmental and political leadership.
“This document makes it clear the Newman government is considering allowing high-impact extractive activities in our national parks, marine parks and other beautiful natural areas,” Mr Hutton said.
“This flies in the face of 150 years of having only low-level impact activities like recreation in these areas and of the overwhelming public support for such a policy.”
Mr Hutton said the Newman government should remember the level of outcry in Australia and around the world when the Queensland Coalition government wanted to allow oil drilling on the Great Barrier Reef in the 1970s.
“Queenslanders won’t stand for such a retrograde step and I call on the Premier to rule out any mining or coal seam gas activities in national parks, marine parks and other protected State lands,” Mr Hutton said.