This just in from Surfrider Australia. It's a press release from the government of the State of Queensland discussing the strengthening and addition of layers to the current laws protecting iconic areas including Noosa, pictured here, courtesy of Surfline.
Premier and Minister for Trade
The Honourable Peter Beattie
Minister for Local Government, Planning and Sport
The Honourable Andrew Fraser
NEW LAWS TO PROTECT QUEENSLAND ICONS
The State Government will introduce new laws to give even greater protection to the state's internationally-recognised natural icons located in areas of new regional councils.
Premier Peter Beattie said the Iconic Queensland Strategy would give the force of state law to already existing planning schemes in such environmentally significant and important areas as Noosa, Port Douglas, the Whitsunday region and the Fraser Coast area.
"The current planning schemes in areas like Port Douglas and Noosa work well and have been administered by councils which largely stick rigidly to the plans," Mr Beattie said.
"What the government will do is legislate to ensure those planning schemes now have more grunt and the clout to ensure icons like the Daintree and the Great Sandy Straits and the Great Barrier Reef and the environmentally sensitive areas of the Sunshine Coast are given even more protection.
"Councils come and go but by doing this, the government gives legislative protection to safeguard our icons for future generations.
"Of course, appropriate development will continue but with the new laws, planning schemes in these areas become more powerful than ever.
"Since we announced the reforms to local government, we've heard the message and people are worried that the planning schemes of areas like Noosa and Port Douglas will be a thing of the past.
"I can assure them today that this will not be the case - we understand that these are international icons and we are just as determined as residents to ensure they remain that way."
Local Government and Planning Minister Andrew Fraser said the government would nominate the key regions of Noosa and Port Douglas but other councils were also encouraged to nominate for iconic status.
He said the government would then determine if iconic status was warranted.
Mr Fraser said iconic status could include:
Areas of state or national significance
Areas of historical significance
Areas of unique natural environment
World Heritage areas like the Reef, Daintree & Sandy Straits
"Internationally, Queensland is environmentally unique and there are very few other places who could match our areas of iconic importance," Mr Fraser said.
"Councils with areas of iconic significance like Douglas and Noosa have strong planning schemes in place and with the new laws they become stronger under the new regional councils for these areas."
Further inquiries: Premier's Office: 3224 4500