Over the last 3 years the state government has radically changed laws relating to the environment and commercial development. The government continues to argue that these changes (and others waiting to be passed) are warranted, claiming they are simply "cutting red tape" in order to streamline development application processes and spuring economic development opportunties. The resultant impacts on community rights have been profound.
Yatala Ormeau political demands
We want elected representatives that help make industry, environmental and health laws in line with community expectations
We want governmental officers who act honestly applying those laws with the intent with which they were written.
We want to ensure the new Queensland Government acts as a balanced mediator in our society between the community and developers, and if nothing else, the community gets a fair fight when attempting to apply the law to protect the community’s natural assets like the environment.
As a community group we have for too long had to suffer being the keeper of the laws and regularly finding ourselves in Court with the developer and Council on the other side. This process is made harder with State and Local Government officers helping out developers with blatant misinterpretations of the Law.
New legislation has recently been introduced to award Court costs against unsuccessful appellents. We can only deduce that our fights against developers and government in the Planning and Appeal Court in the past have been far too successful. Our concerns have always been that legal checks and balances have not been followed while the government could only interprete our concerns as obstructistic.
The Environmental Defenders Office (EDO) has also been defunded by the government. The EDO gives advice to its community members as to whether they have a case worthy of taking to Court and then how to navigate through the Court process. The community received legal advice from the EDO on several issues in the past including information which helped stop the proposed Wagner quarry that would have resulted in clearing a large area of pristine riverine environmental including Ormeau Bottle tree habitat in the Darlington Range.
The good news is that the incoming Labor government has confirmed in writing that it will be repealing the legislation negating a community’s right to be notified or appeal against a development in the Planning and Environment Court. Labor wants to ensure that community groups have every right to object and appeal and are protected during this process.