Good air quality is important to maintain environmental health, including human health.
We need clean water to protect our freshwater, estuarine and marine plants and animals.
We manage waste to protect human health and environmental quality, and to improve the efficient use of resources.
A greenhouse gas is a gas that traps heat in the atmosphere, causing climate change.
An Introduction to Pollution in the Queensland State of the Environment Report
Management responses are the actions or initiatives undertaken to protect, maintain and restore environmental assets, as well as those that prevent, mitigate or adapt to changes in the environment. They are generally developed in reaction to the observed or anticipated pressures and impacts, or the state of the environment. They act in a multitude of ways, either individually or, more often, in concert with one another to bring about environmental change.
Applicable management responses related to pollution include:
Queenslanders use close to 3 billion beverage containers every year. The introduction of the state-wide container refund scheme, Containers for Change, gives people an incentive to collect and return containers for recycling, in exchange for a 10 cent refund payment.
The container refund scheme will:
- reduce the amount of drink containers that are littered
- increase Queensland’s recycling rate
- provide benefits to social enterprises, communities, and regional and remote areas by creating new jobs, recycling and fundraising opportunities.
Since Containers for Change commenced on 1 November 2018 over 1.5 billion containers have been returned for a refund at over 3220 container refund points in operation across the state. Over 700 jobs have been created.
The Environmental Protection Act 1994 (EP Act)protects Queensland’s environment while allowing for development that improves the total quality of life, both now and in the future, in a way that maintains ecological processes. Together with the Environmental Protection Regulation 2019, the EP Act establishes a list of industrial activities called environmentally relevant activities (ERA’s) which must have a current development approval or environmental authority.
The Environmental Protection (Air) Policy 2019 establishes long-term objectives for sulphur dioxide, nitrogen dioxide, ozone, carbon monoxide, particles, lead and a number of air toxics.
Australia has had road vehicle emission standards for new vehicles in place since the early 1970s.
Australian Design Rules (ADRs), under the Commonwealth Motor Vehicle Standards Act 1989, set emission standards for new vehicles. In November 2013, the first stage of the introduction of the Euro 5 emission standards commenced for light vehicles, which includes cars and light commercial vehicles.
It is generally accepted that the increasing proportion of vehicles meeting tighter emission standards has played a major part in improvements in a number of air quality indicators over the past 10 years.
ADRs are performance standards which specify the maximum levels of emissions permitted under a specified test, and do not mandate the use of particular technology.
Transport and industrial activities are the main sources of air pollutants in Queensland although rural and domestic activities also play a role.
The National Environment Protection (Ambient Air Quality) Measure (Ambient Air Quality NEPM) establishes national protection goals for sulphur dioxide, nitrogen dioxide, ozone, carbon monoxide, particles and lead. In December 2018, the Environment Ministers indicated their intention to amend the Ambient Air Quality NEPM for ozone, nitrogen dioxide and sulphur dioxide based on latest scientific understanding of the health risks associated with these pollutants.
Australian Design Rules (ADRs), under the Commonwealth Motor Vehicle Standards Act 1989, set emission standards for new vehicles. Ongoing tightening of ADRs over the past 20 years has resulted in significant reductions in emissions of lead, carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides, hydrocarbons and particles.
The Commonwealth Fuel Quality Standards Act 2000 sets national quality standards for a wide range of fuel quality properties to reduce emissions or improve engine performance.
The National Environment Protection Measure for Ambient Air Quality (Air NEPM) requires annual reporting of Queensland’s air quality against the Air NEPM standards.
The requirement applies to 13 stations across the state and focuses on normal population exposure (for example, stations that are not close to industrial areas or major roads).
Ambient air quality monitoring at AAQ NEPM sites in Queensland between January and December 2018 showed no exceedances of the AAQ NEPM air quality standards for carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide and lead at any monitoring location.
Exceedances of the AAQ NEPM standards occurred for:
- 1-hour and 4-hour average ozone at the Flinders View monitoring station in South East Queensland due to the presence of added ozone precursor pollutant emissions from vegetation fires during meteorological conditions conducive to ozone formation
- 1-hour average sulphur dioxide at the Menzies and The Gap monitoring sites in Mount Isa due to industrial emissions
- 24-hour average PM10 (particles less than 10 micrometres in diameter) at monitoring sites in South East Queensland, Gladstone, Mackay and Mount Isa due to either windblown dust or smoke from bushfires or hazard-reduction burning
- 24-hour average PM2.5 (particles less than 2.5 micrometres in diameter) at monitoring sites in South East Queensland and Townsville due to smoke from bushfires or hazard-reduction burning.
The AAQ NEPM goals were met in all regions with the exception of:
- 1-hour average sulphur dioxide at the Menzies and The Gap sites in Mount Isa due to industrial emissions
- 24-hour average PM10 at the West Mackay monitoring sites in Mackay and The Gap monitoring site in Mount Isa. At these sites some exceedances could not be conclusively demonstrated to have been caused by an exceptional event as defined in the AAQ NEPM, although available information suggests that windblown dust or smoke from a vegetation fire was the likely PM10 source.
Compliance with the AAQ NEPM standards and goals could not be demonstrated for all pollutants at Southport in South East Queensland (site not operational until February 2018) and at Stuart in Townsville (site closed in November 2018), ozone at Springwood in South East Queensland and nitrogen dioxide at North Ward in Townsville because data availability was below the level required to make a valid assessment.
On 1 July 2018 the ban to supply lightweight single-use plastic shopping bags commenced and retailers could no longer supply shoppers with single-use bags under 35 microns, for free or at a charge. The ban includes compostable, degradable and biodegradable shopping bags.
Prior to the ban it was estimated that nearly 1 billion single-use lightweight plastic shopping bags were used in Queensland each year. The majority of these bags end up in landfill and around 16 million bags entering the environment in Queensland each year.
When plastic shopping bags get into waterways they can clog up infrastructure and cause local flooding. In the marine environment, sea turtles and sea birds can swallow or become entangled in them.
The plastic bag ban is helping to protect our unique environment and significantly reducing the accumulation of plastic in the natural environment which over time, breaks down into smaller pieces known as microplastics. These microplastics are difficult to remove and can persist in the environment for a long time.
The annual Recycling and Waste in Queensland report presents data on, and trends in, waste recovery, recycling and disposal in Queensland.
The report provides valuable insight to help inform policy development and decision makers in the waste and resource recovery industry, local government and Queensland Government about the state’s recycling and waste management activities.
The Recycling and Waste in Queensland report is informed by the Annual Waste Data Survey.
The survey captures data about waste generation, resource recovery, treatment and disposal in Queensland.
It also provides a range of government and industry stakeholders across the entire state with access to high quality, accurate waste data, while protecting survey respondent privacy and commercial confidentiality. Such data is critical to stakeholder planning and decision making at both the micro and macro level and ensures better productivity, with more likelihood of opportunities being identified and leveraged, and challenges managed.
The department prepares the Recycling and Waste in Queensland report as part of its obligations under the Waste Reduction and Recycling Act 2011.
The Vegetation Management Act 1999 regulates the clearing of vegetation in Queensland in a way that:
- conserves remnant vegetation
- ensures clearing does not cause land degradation
- prevents loss of biodiversity
- maintains ecological processes
- reduces greenhouse gas emissions
- allows for sustainable land use.
The 2015–16 Statewide Land Assessment and Tree Study (SLATS) report showed an increase in annual woody vegetation clearing rates from 298,000ha in 2014–15 to about 395,000ha in 2015–16.
The Queensland Government has delivered on its election commitment, as well as commitments under the Reef 2050 Long- Term Sustainability Plan (Reef 2050 Plan), to reinstate its nation leading vegetation management protections to increase the resilience of the Great Barrier Reef and reduce carbon emissions.
In March 2018, the Queensland Government strengthened Queensland’s vegetation management laws to increase protection for high-value regrowth and remnant vegetation and boost protection for important Habitats, including waterways leading to the Great Barrier Reef.
In addition to the amendments to the Vegetation Management Act 1999, the government has made further changes to the vegetation management framework by:
- releasing scientific updates to vegetation management maps
- updating accepted development vegetation clearing codes based on scientific advice from the Queensland Herbarium and the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation
- revoking the relevant vegetation clearing code and area management plans so that managing thickened vegetation now requires a development approval.
Queensland’s Waste Management and Resource Recovery Strategy provides a strategic framework to reduce the amount of waste generated, grow the resource recovery and recycling industry, and create new jobs.
The strategy is underpinned by a waste levy, which commenced on 1 July 2019. The levy aims to:
- reduce the amount of waste going to landfill
- encourage waste avoidance
- provide a source of funding to enable better resource recovery practices
- provide certainty and security of feedstocks for advanced technology
- facilitate industry investment in resource recovery infrastructure.
The levy zone includes 39 out of 77 local government areas. This covers about 90% of Queensland’s population and is where the majority of waste is generated and disposed. Waste disposed of in the levy zone, or waste that originates in the levy zone or interstate and is disposed of in the non-levy zone will be liable for the levy.
It is expected that 70% of revenue generated through the waste levy will be allocated to advance payments to councils, scheme start-up and operational costs, industry programs and other environmental priorities.
The Waste Reduction and Recycling Act 2011 contains a suite of measures to reduce waste generation and landfill disposal and encourage recycling.
The legislation establishes a new framework to modernise waste management and resource recovery practices in Queensland. It will promote waste avoidance and reduction and encourage resource recovery and efficiency.
The key provisions of the Waste Reduction and Recycling Act 2011 include:
- a levy on waste delivered to waste disposal sites
- a refund scheme for beverage containers
- requirements for Queensland Government agencies and local governments to prepare waste management plans
- an annual report by the department on waste disposal and recycling in Queensland
- introduction of product stewardship arrangements for any waste products that are identified as a growing problem for landfill in the future
- offences relating to littering and illegal dumping
- requirements for making end of waste codes.
Policy and Programs
As identified in the Queensland Climate Transition Strategy, the Department of Transport and Main Roads (TMR) is developing a net-zero emissions transport roadmap. Transport accounts for approximately 15% of Queensland’s greenhouse gas emissions and this project will identify how TMR can contribute to the whole-of-government targets to reduce emissions below 30% on 2005 levels by 2030 and net-zero emissions by 2050.
Carbon farming involves activities like managing vegetation and savanna burning to store carbon or avoid the release of greenhouse gas emissions.
The Queensland Government is working to keep carbon in the ground through the $500 million Land Restoration Fund. Through its first Investment Round, $100 million was made available to projects that generate Australian carbon credit units with verifiable social, environmental, economic and regional development benefits.
This work builds on the existing Carbon Plus program, which is already delivering on-the ground outcomes in First Nations communities.
The Climate Solutions Fund-Emissions Reduction Fund (ERF) provides incentives for emissions reduction activities across the Australian economy to support achieving of Australia’s 2030 emissions reduction target. The Emissions Reduction Fund’s core principles are to reduce emissions at lowest cost and purchasing genuine and additional emissions reductions.
The ERF operates alongside existing programs that are already working to reduce Australia’s emissions growth such as the Renewable Energy Target and energy efficiency standards on appliances, equipment and buildings. The Safeguard mechanism began in July 2016, to ensure emissions reductions paid for through the ERF are not offset by significant increases in emissions elsewhere in the economy. The Australian Government provided $2.55 billion toward the ERF, with further funding to be considered in future budgets.
The ERF offers a range of opportunities for businesses, local councils, state governments and land managers to reduce greenhouse gas emissions associated with agriculture, energy, waste, transport, and industrial processes. As of March 2020, the ERF had secured over 192.1 million tonnes of abatement through 473 projects under contract.
Central to the Queensland Government’s climate change management response is a target of zero net greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, supported by an interim target of reducing emissions by at least 30% below 2005 levels by 2030.
On 4 June 2020, the Queensland Government released the Energy from Waste (EfW) Policy for Queensland (the Policy) as a key action under the Waste Management and Resource Recovery Strategy. EfW refers to converting waste that is not practical to reuse or recycle into fuels, electricity, heating or cooling.
The Policy provides a clear framework that outlines the requirements for proponents wishing to establish EfW facilities in Queensland. These requirements include demonstration that projects are technically sound, compatible with future recycling goals, and meet high standards of community engagement, environmental protection and energy production. The Policy also outlines a preference for EfW industries that produce higher value commodities such as fuels, over electricity and heat.
Guidance materials are current being developed to provide guidance on how to meet the Policy requirements, and to illustrate the conditions likely to apply to an environmental authority for certain types of EfW facilities.
The Queensland Government is reducing emissions across its own operations. Key initiatives include:
- joining the international Under2Coalition to support the global shift to zero net emissions by 2050
- delivering the Queensland Police Service Electricity Optimisation Project that has seen 1.7MW of solar systems installed at 45 police stations across Queensland
- transparently reporting carbon emissions from all Queensland Government operations through the Open Data Portal
- the QFleet Electric Vehicle Strategy that commits to at least doubling the number of electric vehicles in the government fleet annually from 2018 to 2022
- investing $97 million in the Advancing Clean Energy Schools program to cut energy costs across state schools through solar and energy efficiency measures
- Queensland Government and below50 Australia Statement of Collaboration to grow an advanced bioeconomy and promote the production and use of sustainable, low carbon fuels incorporating the zero net emissions by 2050 target into Queensland Government procurement policy
- reducing and offsetting emissions from Queensland Government vehicles
- using the land-use planning system to support delivery of zero net emissions
- reintroducing comprehensive vegetation management legislation.
- Queensland Government initiatives and actions
- Under2 Coalition
- Queensland Police Service Electricity Optimisation Project
- Open Data Portal
- QFleet Environmental strategy
- Advancing Queensland Clean Energy Schools program
- Queensland Government Procurement Policy
- QFleet Electric Vehicle Transition Strategy
- Queensland Land Use Planning Mapping Program (QLUMP) applications
The Environmental Protection (Water and Wetland Biodiversity) Policy 2019 (EPP Water and Wetland Biodiversity), subordinate legislation under the Environmental Protection Act 1994, establishes Healthy Waters Management Plans (HWMPs) as a key planning mechanism to improve the quality of Queensland waters. HWMPs identify environmental values, water quality objectives and catchment-based management actions through consultation and best available science. HWMPs have been developed for all Queensland Murray–Darling Basin catchments. For these catchments, the HWMPs not only fulfil requirements under the EPP Water and Wetland Biodiversity, but also Australian Government water quality planning provisions under the Basin Plan 2012. In 2016, the Warrego, Paroo, Bulloo and Nebine Basins HWMP was approved, with the Condamine HWMP, Queensland Border Rivers–Moonie HWMP and Maranoa–Balonne HWMP approved in 2019. These plans identify the key risks to water quality across the Queensland Murray–Darling Basin and highlight potential management responses to address the risks.
HWMPs are broader than ‘just water quality’ as they protect aquatic ecosystems through specifying water quality objectives for indicators such as macroinvertebrates, fish, riparian vegetation and groundcover. These plans are typically delivered through collaborative partnerships between the Queensland Government and regional Natural Resource Management (NRM) bodies.
For Great Barrier Reef (GBR) catchments, Water Quality Improvement Plans (WQIPs) have been developed, which perform a similar function to HWMPs. WQIPs were initially prepared by regional NRM bodies under the Australian Government’s Coastal Catchments Initiative, in consultation with the Queensland Government. WQIPs undertaken in GBR catchments use the monitoring and evaluation tools generated by the Paddock to Reef Program. For example, GBR catchment water quality modelling and monitoring is used to prioritise areas for on-ground investment in management improvements and to predict water quality improvements from proposed management options.
The Queensland Government is committed to reducing the amount and impacts of littered and illegally dumped wastes in Queensland. A priority action of the Waste Management and Resource Recovery Strategy is the development of the new Keeping Queensland Clean; The Litter and Illegal Dumping Plan (in draft). This Plan builds on the learning from, and replaces the Queensland’s Litter and Illegal Dumping Action Plan 2013.
This Plan will provide the framework to deliver best practice compliance, enforcement and prevention programs that address littering and illegal dumping in Queensland. The plan will also provide a proactive approach towards behaviour change and education for littering and illegal dumping issues.
The actions under this plan are designed to work in partnership, across the levels of government and in conjunction with business and the community, to ensure litter and illegal dumping issues are being targeted in a systematic and collaborative way.
Many actions have already commenced to address this type of pollution in Queensland, such as the plastic bag ban, the container refund scheme, littering hotspot intervention grants and partnership programs for local governments and the development of the Litter and Illegal Dumping Management Framework.
The Large-scale Renewable Energy Target (LRET) creates a financial incentive for the establishment or expansion of renewable energy power stations, such as wind and solar farms or hydro-electric power stations. The Australian Government set the LRET at 33,000 gigawatt hours of additional renewable energy generation by 2020. In September 2019, the Clean Energy Regulator announced that Australia had met the LRET ahead of schedule.
The Small-scale Renewable Energy Scheme (SRES) creates a financial incentive for households, small businesses and community groups to install eligible small-scale renewable energy systems such as solar water heaters, heat pumps, solar photovoltaic (PV) systems, small-scale wind systems, or small-scale hydro systems.
The Litter and Illegal Dumping Online Reporting System enables the public to report online, or via a smart phone or tablet, incidents of littering and illegal dumping from a vehicle or vessel.
The Queensland Government is working with industry and the community to achieve a 50% renewable energy target by 2030 to reduce emissions, create new jobs and diversify the state’s economy. The Government is working to grow a sustainable industrial biotechnology and bioproducts sector and develop a sustainable hydrogen industry in Queensland.
In December 2015, Australia’s environment ministers established the National Clean Air Agreement (NCAA). The agreement seeks to ensure that the community continues to enjoy clean air and address the impacts on human health and the environment.
The agreement focuses on actions to reduce air pollution and improve air quality through cooperative action between industry and government at the national, state and local levels. The agreement is designed to incorporate a range of existing, new and complementary measures to improve Australia’s air quality.
In April 2018, the federal, state and territory Environment Ministers agreed on a 2018–2020 work plan which outlines the roles, responsibilities and timeframes to implement actions listed on the work plan. Actions listed under the work plan include the following:
- review of national ambient air quality standards for sulphur dioxide, nitrogen dioxide, ozone, fuel quality standards and the National Pollutant Inventory.
- completion of the adoption of new emission and efficiency standards for new wood heaters.
- evaluation on the potential for a national approach to manage non-road diesel engine emissions.
The work plan is formally reviewed by the Environment Ministers every 2 years to ensure that actions under the NCAA is relevant and to maintain accountability for delivery.
The National Landcare Program (NLP) is the Australian Government’s key natural resource management (NRM) investment. Comprised of 2 phases, the NLP includes a range of measures to support NRM, sustainable agriculture and protection of the Australian biodiversity.
The Australian Government in Phase 1 of the NLP invested $1 billion between 2014–15 and 2017–18 to support regional and national funding streams with the following objectives:
- communities are managing landscapes to sustain long-term economic and social benefits from their environment
- farmers and fishers are increasing their long term returns through better management of the natural resource base
- communities are involved in caring for their environment
- communities are protecting species and natural assets.
The funding provided supports Landcare Networks, 20 Million Trees, 56 regional NRM organisations and to local environmental and sustainable agriculture projects such as Reef 2050 implementation, the eradication of yellow crazy ants in North Queensland and Threatened Species Recovery Fund.
In Phase 2 of the NPL, the Australian Government is investing around $1 billion over a period of 5 years from 2018 to 2023. In this phase, the Australian Government is working in partnerships with governments, industry, communities and individuals to protect and conserve Australia’s water, soil, animals and ecosystems, as well as support the productive and sustainable use of these valuable resources. The funding will aim to address problems such as:
- loss of vegetation
- soil degradation
- introduction of pest weeds and animals
- changes in water quality and flow
- changes in fire regimes.
Included in this phase is the Regional Land Partnerships which will deliver $450 million worth of national priorities at a regional and local level. Under this program, the Government will support the delivery of 195 projects that aim to contribute to on-ground environmental and agricultural outcomes across the country to benefit the environment, farms and communities.
Additionally, $134 million has been allocated into the Smart Farms Program (Agriculture) to support the development and uptake of best practice management, tools and technology that help farmers, fishers, foresters and regional communities. This Program aims to improve the protection, resilience and productive capacity of our soils, water and vegetation and in turn support successful primary industries and regional communities.
The Queensland Government has allocated $61.77 million to the Natural Resource Investment Program over 4 years from 2018 to 2022 (NRIP 2018–22). This represents an extension of funding by the Queensland Government in regional natural resource management, building on the previous program - the Natural Resources Investment Program 2013–2018.
Administered by the Department of Natural Resources, Mines and Energy (DNRME), NRIP 2018–22 ensures that funding is invested into improving the quality of the state’s natural resources specifically land, vegetation, water and the Great Barrier Reef.
NRIP 2018–2022 funding is being invested in Queensland’s regional arrangements and aims to achieve measurable change in the management and condition of natural resources to build capacity in communities to deliver improved outcomes in the following 4 priority areas:
- land: building stable and resilient landscapes.
- water: achieving sustainable use and management of water.
- people and communities: facilitating effective regional management and stewardship.
- science and knowledge: knowing the state of natural resource management assets and effectiveness of interventions.
Within these 4 priority areas, DNRME has now allocated more than $43 million to over 30 NRIP projects that commenced between July 2018 to June 2020. These include specific Reef Water Quality and Paddock to Reef projects as well as projects focused on improving the condition of our natural resource assets. There are also a number of state-wide projects aimed at developing frameworks to produce natural resource indicators and the reporting of state-wide indicator data.
The Queensland Government has set a target of one million rooftops—or 3000 megawatts of solar photovoltaics (PV)— in Queensland by 2020. This goal was reached in October 2018 with over 3,000 megawatts of installed solar capacity.
Small and large-scale solar power is now generating more than 4,400 megawatts. This will help lower electricity costs for families and businesses, create jobs and protect the environment.
With over 580,000 solar systems connected, Queensland has the highest number of installations in Australia. This number continues to grow as solar PV is cheaper than grid-supplied electricity in many cases.
Plastics have become part of our everyday lives, providing many positive benefits to society however with increases in population and consumption, plastic pollution is growing and the negative impacts locally and globally have grown exponentially, particularly for single-use plastics products.
Queensland’s Plastic Pollution Reduction Plan was released on 7 November 2019. The plan sets the direction for Queensland to be part of the global solution to plastic pollution.
The plastic plan identifies and prioritises actions to help reduce plastic waste and reduce the amount of plastic in and entering the environment. It also supports the recovery and recycling of plastics by identifying actin at every step of the supply chain.
The Point Source Water Quality Offsets Policy 2019 describes how existing or potentially new environmental authority holders under the Environmental Protection Act 1994 (EP Act) can implement water quality offsets. Water quality offsets may be adopted as a voluntary option for managing environmentally relevant activities under the EP Act in situations where wastewater containing prescribed offset contaminants (nitrogen, phosphorus, and suspended solids) is dischargedinto receiving waters.
Examples of water quality offset investments include:
- riparian area restoration
- streambank and gully restoration
- constructed or remediated wetlands
- bioremediation technology (point source).
Water quality offset conditions apply under the policy to ensure an improvement is delivered to water quality in the receiving waters as a result of the alternative investment options.
Queensland's freight system supported an estimated 178 billion tonne-kilometres of freight services in 2018–19. Prior to COVID-19 this task was projected to grow by around 15% to more than 205 billion tonne-kilometres and the amount of freight carried was estimated to increase by approximately 25% to around 1.25 billion tonnes by 2028–29.
In 2019, the Department of Transport and Main Roads released the Queensland Freight Strategy — Advancing Freight in Queensland (the Strategy). The Strategy sets a shared vision for the state’s freight system, outlining a series of commitments that will guide policy, planning and investment decision making over the next 10 years to give customers greater choice and support economic growth.
The Strategy will address our growing freight task in a safe, equitable and collaborative way. It will be implemented through the rolling 2-year Queensland Freight Action Plan that outlines how government and stakeholders are ensuring the freight system continues to keep pace with new technologies and economic conditions.
The Queensland Government is working to reduce carbon emissions from the built environment.
- requiring sustainability assessments for all capital works programs over $100 million as part of the State Infrastructure Plan
- delivering $2 billion in rebates and initiatives under the Affordable Energy Plan to help households and businesses reduce energy use and maintain energy affordability
- boosting our entrepreneurial culture, supporting innovation and growth, building on our natural advantages and bringing new energy efficient products and services to Queensland as part of the $755 million Advance Queensland initiative
- delivering environmentally, socially and economically sustainable communities through Economic Development Queensland’s adoption of the Urban Development Institute of Australia’s EnviroDevelopment certification framework
- partnering with the Chamber of Commerce and Industry Queensland to deliver the ecoBiz program, which has helped Queensland businesses achieve an energy saving, on average, of 17% since 2013 through access to personal coaching, training and tools to improve energy efficiency
- advocating for the development of improved national energy efficiency building codes
- consolidating development policies in the State Planning Policy and ShapingSEQ Regional Plan, to encourage housing in well connected, accessible and well serviced areas.
Regional report cards are produced annually by Regional Report Card Partnerships to monitor and report on a range of regional social, economic and environmental conditions. There are 5 regional report card partnerships within the Great Barrier Reef region: Wet Tropics Waterways, Townsville Dry Tropics Partnership for Healthy Waters, Mackay–Whitsunday–Isaac Healthy Rivers to Reef Partnership, Fitzroy River Health Partnership and Gladstone Healthy Harbour Partnership. Each Partnership is a collaboration of organisations including the Australian and Queensland governments, local government; industry; ports; conservation groups; science, tourism, Indigenous and community groups.
As part of their monitoring programs, Regional Report Card Partnerships measure and assess environmental catchment conditions and ecological function of waters within and adjacent to the Great Barrier Reef. Apart from providing an understanding of current water quality and ecosystem health conditions in these regions and trends over time, report card results help inform the development of local management actions to improve waterway health.
Regional Report Card Partnerships use fine scale data to report on ecological condition of regional freshwater, estuarine, inshore marine habitats and offshore reefs. Whilst there are many common indicators monitored across all Partnership regions, some indicators are unique to particular Partnership regions, reflecting locally important issues and the initial rationale for forming those Partnerships. For more information on the range of indicators monitored by different Regional Report Card Partnerships, please refer to the Report Card Explainer.
Regional report cards also include social, economic and cultural indicators. The Gladstone Healthy Harbour Partnership and Mackay–Whitsunday–Isaac Healthy Rivers to Reef Partnership report cards have also included voluntary performance reports on the level of management practice associated with agriculture, urban, ports, heavy industry and aquaculture industries in their region. The assessment method for these indicators is under review and a new means of assessing urban water management practice is being development by the Queensland Government.
While Regional Report Card Partnerships rarely develop and oversee their own management response programs, partner organisations often do so as part of their environmental stewardship. The Mackay–Whitsunday–Isaac Healthy Rivers to Reef Partnership has summarised stewardship case study examples linked to its partner organisations for the 2018–19 financial year.
The Queensland Government’s Solar 150 initiative provides support to 4 projects supplying almost 150 megawatts of solar power generation in Queensland, and helped to kick-start large-scale solar generation and investment in Queensland. The 4 projects supported are Canadian Solar’s Longreach and Oakey solar farms, Edify Energy’s Whitsunday Solar Farm and Genex’s Kidston Solar Farm.
Developed in collaboration with the Australian Renewable Energy Agency, Solar 150 supported the development of these local, large-scale solar projects by providing a long-term revenue contract to successful Queensland bidders.
The Queensland Government has continued to work with stakeholders and invest in a range of initiatives in South East Queensland to improve water quality and catchment health. Management responses implemented under the South East Queensland ‘Investing in Our Environment for the Future’ Program include:
- water quality monitoring to support the annual South East Queensland report card, to track waterway health and identify issues for management action
- facilitation of horticultural research and development, as well as the delivery of the Horticultural Best Management Practice Program (Hort360), to reduce on-farm erosion and nutrient loss to improve water quality
- catchment improvement activities to restore riverbanks, protect agricultural land and reduce sediment flowing to waterways and Moreton Bay under the Healthy Catchments Program
- improvements to urban stormwater erosion and sediment control associated with construction and post-construction phases of urban development, which focusses management action on addressing the source of 35% of sediment emissions to South East Queensland’s waterways.
The South East Queensland ‘Investing in Our Environment for the Future’ Program continues to deliver multiple benefits to water quality and ecosystem health, agricultural land, the building and land development industry, and the community. In addition, the Queensland Government is working with the South East Queensland Council of Mayors and other signatories under the Resilient Rivers Initiative to ensure a coordinated approach to catchment management is implemented across the region.
The Minister for Transport and Main Roads released The Future is Electric: Queensland’s Electric Vehicle Strategy (EV Strategy) on 4 October 2017. The EV Strategy is the beginning of a new era in transport fuel sources that will also include bio-fuels and alternative new technologies such as hydrogen to support environmentally-friendly transport options, particularly from renewable energy.
The EV Strategy is positioning Queensland for an increase in electric vehicles. It outlines 16 cost-effective initiatives to empower consumers, enable supporting infrastructure, explore cost-effective support programs and envisage future government actions.
One of the key actions from the EV Strategy is the Queensland Electric Super Highway (QESH), a series of 18 fast charging stations from Coolangatta north to Cairns and Brisbane west to Toowoomba, completed in 2018 Planning for phase 2 of the QESH is well underway, with construction due for completion by end 2020.
The Queensland Government released the Waste Management and Resource Recovery Strategy on 1 July 2019.
The strategy provides the strategic framework for Queensland to become a zero-waste society, where waste is avoided, reused and recycled to the greatest possible extent.
The strategy focuses on transitioning to the principles of a circular economy to help retain the value of material in the economy for as long as possible.
The framework will help to deliver coordinated, long-term and sustained growth for the recycling and resource recovery sector while reducing the amount of waste produced and disposed of by promoting more sustainable practices for business, industry and households.
The strategy sets the following ambitious stretch targets for 2050:
- 25% reduction in household waste
- 90% waste recovered, diverted from landfill
- 75% recycling rates across all waste types.
Providing an incentive to recover and recycle materials will help protect the natural environment and conserve natural resources that would otherwise require the input of virgin materials to manufacture new products.