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Thursday, 24 March 2011
Page: 3196

Mr SLIPPER (1:47 PM) —Today I seek to table an in-order petition from the Take Action for Pumicestone Passage community action group. The group has collected, since 1 January, a staggering 13,555 signatures, requesting a strategic environmental assessment of the Pumicestone Passage and its catchments prior to the commencement of the Caloundra South residential development. The request is made in line with the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999. Overwhelmingly, the signatories live in the Caloundra area, so the development and the local Pumicestone Passage environment are obviously matters of major concern.

Bribie Island, just north of Brisbane, lies along the coast, creating the sheltered waterway of the Pumicestone Passage. This area is home to dolphins, dugongs, sea turtles and many other animals. The passage is also part of the Moreton Bay Marine Park. It would be a shame to allow such a key environmental area to be threatened by development.

The Sunshine Coast is a high-growth area, so we need new houses; however, development must be balanced with care for the environment. The Caloundra South development is a residential project of 2,360 hectares that is bordered by the Caloundra Airport, the Bruce Highway, Bellvista and Pelican Waters, and there is potential for 25,000 new houses to be built housing some 50,000 people.

The TAPP organisation is well organised. It wants to protect the local environment. The petition was presented to me last week by principal petitioner Alana Kirchhoff, TAPP spokesman Ken Mewburn and petition coordinator Helen Crook. This is a wonderful organisation. I will be meeting with the minister today to push the case of the petitioners. (Time expired)

The petition read as follows—

This petition is from concerned citizens of Australia and others from the wider international community.

We wish to convey to the House and Minister Burke our concern for the deteriorating health of the Pumicestone Passage, a RAMSAR listed wetland of international significance. This area already has documented evidence of environmental degradation. We believe that the proposed Caloundra South Development, of 25 000 homes, will have further significant impacts on the ecosystem of the Pumicestone Passage and its catchment.

We therefore ask the House to call upon Minister Burke to work with the QLD State Government to conduct a Strategic Environmental Assessment of the Pumicestone Passage and its catchments under the Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999. This Assessment should closely scrutinise all land use both current and proposed for its impact on the ecological health of the Pumicestone Passage and its catchment. We believe the Minister should then use the information gained to set mandatory environmental standards that will apply to all future development and any alteration of present land usage in this area.

from 13,555 citizens.

Petition received.