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Thursday, 18 November 2010
Page: 3080

Mr VAN MANEN (12:43 PM) —I wish to speak today about some of the key environmental issues in respect of the Logan and Albert rivers, two of the key waterways in the electorate of Forde. These are issues that an ETS or a carbon tax will do nothing to solve. These issues will only be solved via practical, on-the-ground action.

When I was a child I grew up near the Logan River at Waterford and we spent plenty of time swimming and fishing in the river. These are not activities that I would undertake or recommend today, given the recent water quality reports.

The Logan is one of four rivers in the Forde electorate—and the longest, stretching back to the Great Dividing Range. The Logan River is joined by the Albert River at Carbrook before flowing into Ramsar listed southern Moreton Bay. The catchment is affected by a variety of land uses—from the rural areas of North Maclean and Chambers Flat to the urban areas of Waterford, Bethania and Loganholme, to the mangrove forests and aquaculture farms near the river mouth.

The 2010 ecosystem health report card showed the Albert and Logan rivers to be two of the worst in South-East Queensland, with the Logan River remaining in the D category and the Albert River dropping from an A-minus to a B-minus. After testing 16 sites in the Logan River catchment, most of the area failed to meet ecosystem goals set out by the study. Out of the 19 freshwater catchments in South-East Queensland, only four scored lower than the Logan River, which has not scored higher than a D in four years. Sites stretching from Waterford to Moreton Bay completely failed to meet health standards.

The main issue for the Logan and Albert waterways is fine sediment or suspended sediment which comes predominantly from urban and industrial areas, agricultural activities such as grazing, and degraded river banks, including the banks of creeks within the catchment that ultimately drain into the rivers. The Logan and Albert Conservation Association believes that a large contributor to these poor results is the high nutrient and sediment levels being produced by development. The Logan and Albert Rivers Catchment Association believes that development and rural and urban refuse are the main problems that demand immediate attention. The association would like to see a greater awareness in the community of the importance of the rivers.

Logan City Council’s river clean-up program revealed that an average of 600 items were removed from the Logan River every fortnight between July 2008 and June 2009, with one-fifth being food wrappers. Healthy Waterways scientific experts believe that better processes are required in the development of greenfield sites, along with ensuring that the sediment created from rural area changes does not make it into the river.

In addition, new cities at Flagstone and Yarrabilba call for action to ensure that the health of the rivers does not deteriorate further. The same level of funding must be given to both the hard infrastructure and the green infrastructure. Buffers between houses and waterways are vital, along with pollutant traps in the design process. Further support in the areas of education and finance needs to be looked at for landowners. Rivers affect the whole community, linking the health of residents to social, economic and environmental issues.

It is pleasing to see that these issues have been recognised by Logan City Council and particularly by Councillor Lisa Bradley. Councillor Bradley is seeking to set up a proactive forum of locals, business people, state and federal politicians, environmental groups and farmers to educate and devise strategies and solutions to some of the issues mentioned earlier. Council approval is currently pending on this forum, and Councillor Bradley has invited me to be part of the forum to protect and save two of the main rivers in the Forde electorate. It is an invitation I am happy to accept.