Media Releases - 02 June 2023

Protection for Lake Eyre Basin one step closer as long-awaited consultation report released

The Channel Country, Queensland. Image: Geoff Spanner Productions.

Protection for free-flowing Channel Country rivers in south-west Queensland is one step closer after the long-awaited release of the Queensland Palaszczuk Government’s consultation report today, which includes important policy options for protecting the Lake Eyre Basin rivers and floodplains from new oil and gas.

Queensland Labor has promised to protect Channel Country rivers and floodplains of the Lake Eyre Basin at each election since 2015. The Wilderness Society has been calling on the Palaszczuk Government to act on this commitment, in support of calls from Traditional Owners, pastoralists and scientists to protect the Lake Eyre Basin’s Channel Country rivers and floodplains from inappropriate fossil fuel extraction.

The release of the Regulatory Impact Statement (RIS) is one step towards Queensland Labor delivering on its commitment to protect the integrity of the Lake Eyre Basin, one of the biggest inland draining water systems on the planet. Fracking these delicate rivers and floodplains poses a terrible risk to the overland flows—the lifeblood that feeds the heartlands of Australia.

Hannah Schuch, Queensland Campaigns Manager for the Wilderness Society said, “We’re pleased to see the Regulatory Impact Statement (RIS) finally released for genuine public consultation.

“This is the next step in the Queensland government getting on with the job of delivering their long held election commitments to protect the globally significant Channel Country rivers and floodplains of the Lake Eyre Basin.

“Iconic wildlife, local communities and First Nations’ cultural connection dating back tens of thousands of years depend on these rivers and floodplains remaining healthy to survive and thrive.

“We support the decades-long call of Traditional Owners, pastoralists and scientists on Queensland governments to protect the Lake Eyre Basin rivers and floodplains from dangerous resource extraction.

“Queenslanders would hate to see this incredible landscape deteriorate at the hands of oil and gas giants. Wilderness Society supporters will be using this opportunity to make the government hear loud and clear that Queenslanders do not want to see these ecologically and culturally significant rivers and floodplains of the Channel Country destroyed by fossil fuel expansions and the dangerous infrastructure that comes with it.

“We strongly encourage Queenslanders to make a submission through this official process to make sure the Palaszczuk government knows that oil and gas developments on the sensitive rivers and floodplains are unacceptable for nature and the communities that rely on them, and therefore all Australians. When communities have a real say in decisions we get better outcomes for nature and people.

“The Lake Eyre Basin rivers are amongst the last free-flowing desert rivers left on the planet. The bountiful floodplains support an abundance of wildlife, local communities and cultural connection. To continue to allow oil and gas mining in these areas would go against the government’s responsibilities to nature, the climate and regional communities’ desires.

“Queensland Labor has promised to protect these areas at every election since 2015, and today the government is one step closer to finally fulfilling that commitment and paving the way for the much deserved protection of this world-class landscape. Protecting the Lake Eyre Basin rivers from all new oil and gas will make Queensland a leader in protecting nature, the climate at the wishes of regional communities.”

For interviews with Hannah Schuch, Queensland campaigns manager for The Wilderness Society, contact Rhiannon Cunningham, media adviser, on 0419992760 or [email protected]