Queensland’s Proposed Iconic Legislation (part II)

Contrary to the intent of the outgoing Douglas Shire Council’s resolution to not allow Council staff to participate in the process of preparing submissions to Queensland’s Draft Iconic legislation, the Queensland Department of Infrastructure and Planning has contracted the Planning Consultant primarily involved in developing the Douglas Shire’s Planning Scheme, to prepare a Draft Iconic Values Statement for Douglas Shire.

Having previously thought that one-month public consultation for Queensland’s Draft Iconic legislation was inadequate, the six days offered this afternoon, for the Draft Iconic Values Statement, is remarkably challenging. We are advised, “Unfortunately any submissions received after 6pm on Monday the 17th March 2008, will be unable to be considered.”

Two days before this deadline, the inaugural Cairns Regional Council elections will be held, leaving the successful candidates with only one working day to respond within this window of eligibility.

One might be excused for assuming that a Draft Iconic Values Statement for Douglas Shire would be a relatively simple descriptor, given that 82% of the Shire is bedded in World Heritage legislation. The adjacent Great Barrier Reef WH area ensures another binding level of iconic constraint and at a lower level, the Integrated Planning Act ensures the preservation of Good Quality Agricultural Lands.

But no; the Draft Iconic Values Statement for Douglas Shire is unexpectedly more definitive, even down to the level of unsealed roads, oil palms that line the entrance to Port Douglas and the waterfront markets that are valued not only by tourists but also by local residents. It details iconic WH values, biodiversity values (including a new species of fish found in Cooper Creek), the Irrawaddy and Indo Pacific humpback dolphins, migrating birds, waders, flying fox, southern cassowary, stream-inhabiting frog species, Bennett’s tree kangaroo, estuarine crocodile and spotted quoll, among many others.

These ecological values are already protected under the various provisions of the Nature Conservation Act 1992 and World Heritage legislation, but with this new layer of Iconic legislation, it would seem that the forced amalgamations are merely a smokescreen for a de facto dissolution of local governance in the former Shire of Douglas and the expansion of bureaucracy.

4 Responses to Queensland’s Proposed Iconic Legislation (part II)

  1. Louis Hissink March 10, 2008 at 7:35 pm #

    Neil,

    Welcome to the socialist state in which everything we do will eventually become regulated to the minutest detail by an unelected bureaucracy.

  2. Hasbeen March 10, 2008 at 11:09 pm #

    I have previously thought that the state government attack on local government councils was just another vindictive act by a very nasty man. The USA are welcome to him.

    However, I now start to see the hand of a worried state bureaucracy. By keeping local government off balance, & disorganised, the chance of a real move to eliminate state governments is greatly diminished.

    The current stuff up could not possibly have been organised by anyone with the best interest of good government, or the tax payer at heart.

  3. Ian Mott March 11, 2008 at 12:43 am #

    Government of the people, for the spivs, by the spivs.

  4. spangled drongo July 12, 2008 at 3:01 pm #

    Neil,
    On the positive side, Cairns Regional Council may be a reasonable solution and should have your sound environmental future interests at heart.
    Our local council, the Scenic Rim RC is the only one in Qld to end up with a considerably reduced rates base which induces it to promote excessive development in an area seeking WH listing and Iconic Status to make it financially viable.
    If we had been amalgamated with Gold Coast, we’d have been much better off.

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