Media Releases - 12 December 2023

Soon to be Premier, Steven Miles, needs to deliver strong Lake Eyre Basin protections now

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

Wilderness Society urges the incoming premier, Steven Miles, to deliver protections to the Queensland Lake Eyre Basin and eliminate future oil and gas from the Channel Country rivers and floodplains.

For the past eight years, Queensland Labor has committed to protect the Channel Country rivers and floodplains of the Lake Eyre Basin. The initial commitment was made in 2015, when soon to be Premier Steven Miles held the Environment portfolio in the Labor government.

Steven has since reinforced this commitment to Channel Country communities and concerned Queenslanders. Prior to the 2020 election, Steven Miles reinforced Queensland Labor’s “commitment to ensure the protection of the streams and floodplains in the Queensland section of the Lake Eyre Basin by returning the protections that existed in the Wild Rivers framework.”

Minister Miles also committed to establish the Lake Eyre Basin (Qld) Stakeholder Advisory Group to inform the development of a consultation Regulatory Impact Statement (RIS). Consultation on the RIS finished in August 2023, during which over 20,000 Queenslanders signaled their support for the strongest protections for the rivers and floodplains as well as the elimination of oil and gas on these areas of global ecological significance.

Before the 2020 election, Steven Miles wrote to leading environmental organisations stating “If re-elected, we look forward to working with you and other stakeholders to ensure the most appropriate protections are in place.”

Queensland Campaigns Manager Hannah Schuch said, “When Minister Miles enters the role of Premier on Friday, we expect him to get on with the urgent job of protecting the Channel Country rivers and floodplains once and for all.

“He needs to honor his commitments to Queenslanders, including Channel Country communities and Traditional Owners to protect this world class river system for future generations. To allow the ongoing expansion of dirty oil and gas would be irresponsible to nature, communities and the climate.

“Premier Steven Miles could be the premier to deliver on Queensland Labor’s promise and make history for the Channel Country.”

Wilderness Society represents thousands of Queenslanders who want to see the aspirations of Channel Country communities and Traditional Owners flourish with the protection of the Lake Eyre Basin rivers and floodplains from new oil and gas.