Media Releases - 12 December 2023

Protections for Channel Country rivers and floodplains delivered by QLD Premier Steven Miles

Cooper Creek floodplains near Windorah in Queensland’s Channel Country. Image: Kerry Trapnell.

Today, the Queensland government will announce historic protections for the Channel Country’s rivers and floodplains. Under the protections, any future oil or gas drilling in the floodplain areas of the Kati Thanda-Lake Eyre basin would be prohibited.

Today’s announcement will come after eight years of rolling commitments from Queensland Labor to protect the Channel Country rivers and floodplains since they entered government in 2015. Throughout this time Traditional Owners, Channel Country locals, scientists and environmentalists have continued to band together to call on the government to make good on their promise.

About 20,000 Queenslanders and concerned Australians made submissions to the most recent Lake Eyre Basin (Qld) Regulatory Impact Statement in support of the strongest protection of the Channel Country rivers and floodplains from oil and gas.

Wilderness Society welcomes protection for these unique desert river ecosystems from oil and gas developments and the infrastructure that comes with them, marking it a win for communities, nature and the climate.

Hannah Schuch, Queensland Campaigns Manager for the Wilderness Society said that this was an early Christmas present to Queenslanders and the abundance of wildlife that depend on these life-giving rivers and floodplains.

“Today’s news is the Queensland Labor Government sticking to their word. Traditional Owners, regional communities and conservation groups have been standing strong for the protection of these globally significant rivers and floodplains for decades and today’s announcement is an early Christmas present.

“In the government’s most recent round of community consultation, about 20,000 Aussies alone voiced their support for protecting the Channel Country rivers and floodplains and banning new oil and gas developments.

“We welcome this long overdue announcement. This is a milestone new Premier Steven Miles should be proud of, given he was Environment Minister in 2015 when the initial commitment was made to return protections to the Channel Country rivers and floodplains.

“This isn’t just a decision that matters locally, but globally. The Channel Country rivers are amongst some of the last free-flowing rivers left on Earth, while the floodplains are important feeding and breeding grounds. This incredible landscape holds tens of thousands of years of cultural heritage, supports livelihoods and feeds Kati-Thanda/Lake Eyre in South Australia.

“This is good news for communities, nature and the climate.”

To arrange interviews with Hanah Schuch, Campaigns Manager for Wilderness Society QLD, please call 0419 992 760 or [email protected]