The Department of Environment and Heritage Protection’s (EHP) 2016-17 Annual Report highlights a year of achievement in climate change, banning plastic bags and tackling rogue environmental operators, Acting Environment Minister Mick de Brenni says.
Mr de Brenni said the department achieved a number of significant milestones as Queensland’s environmental regulator.
“The department now has greater powers to pursue poor environmental performs, and crack down on companies walking away from site rehabilitation,” Mr de Brenni said.
He said that in the area of environmental management, a new operational policy was developed and released to manage the use of firefighting foam products in Queensland containing PFAS. This includes a three year transition to a ban on foam.
“When it comes to compliance and enforcement activities, Operation TORA – led by EHP—continues to stamp out rogue waste management operators to ensure that Queensland does not become the dumping ground for other states,” he said.
“Big achievements in EHP’s policy area include the container refund scheme and the plastic shopping bag ban – both come into effect from 1 July 2018.”
Mr de Brenni said some of the other achievements highlighted in the annual report include a whole-of-government climate adaptation strategy and the launch of the Queensland Climate Resilient Councils program.
“Tackling climate change is critical for strengthening the resilience of our iconic places, particularly the Great Barrier Reef. In the last year, one of the biggest achievements was keeping the Reef off the endangered list,” he said.
The Minister said the health and management of the Great Barrier Reef was a key, ongoing priority for the department.
“In 2016–17, EHP’s Office of the Great Barrier Reef continued to coordinate and deliver the state’s commitments under the Reef 2050 Long-Term Sustainability Plan and the implementation of the Great Barrier Reef Water Science Taskforce,” Mr de Brenni said.
“This work allowed new major projects to start in partnership with agricultural producers, with the end goal of helping to improve the quality of water flowing into reef catchments.”
The Department of Environment and Heritage Protection’s 2016-17 Annual Report was tabled in the Queensland Parliament.
The report can be viewed online here.