QLD Needs a Green New Deal

Due to the Paris Agreement and stark warning signs from leading members of the scientific regarding climate change, and anxiety in the business sector and wider community its time that the state of QLD reflects on its impact environmentally and transition in ways forward economically to better itself in the next 30 years and reduce its carbon foot print. Economy and Jobs: QLD is to date the second highest unemployed state in all of Australia sitting at 6.4 %, increasing amounts of employers are paying less appropriate wages to their staff of all ages, particularly new young workers in industries across the board, particularly in retail and hospitality. There is a growing trend towards robotics and aviation as well but water security, increasing weather events and drought is also playing a big impact in already existing industries as well. QLD has a substantial tourism industry (which is affected by drought and cyclone seasons) but also a successful farming belt industry growing bananas, pineapples, peanuts, it also is known for its wineries, cattle industry, wool, cotton, and sugarcane. But it is well known for its mining sector. Primary metals and resources mined are coal, silver, bauxite, lead, zinc, copper, and gold. Although coal resources are one of the state’s biggest exports, less demand for coal is projected in coming decades this leaves opportunities still open for mining alternative resources such as lithium in North QLD which would be more sustainable and long term then mining projects like Adani. Future state governments could consider the following options: • Assess stolen wages in the retail and hospitality industries and encourage incentives for businesses to pay minimum wages to their staff. • Boost employment opportunities in sustainable eco – tourism ventures. • Create transitional compensation packages for employers in the coal industry to transition into more viable long term alternative mining projects like Lithium etc. • Assess the necessary transitional changes for industries that will be affected by the growing demand for robotic industry and manufacturing, and compensation for workers affected in retail and manufacturing. • Introduce a safety net levy for future drought, fire and cyclone related events that may affect businesses in the tourism industry. Education: With high youth unemployment figures particularly in regional areas, and casualisation at all time highs throughout the state it could be time for a total rethink of how we treat the education system. Future state governments could consider the following options: • QLD needs to streamline more affordable TAFE and undergraduate University education across the board, explore the possibility of a space centre in North QLD. • Construct more education and research hubs in Regional QLD townships with emphasis on sustainable jobs focuses on emerging industry. Energy and Waste: QLD has a high demand for electricity generations particularly in metropolitan’s areas but also in refineries, smelters, mines and in regional QLD. QLD has a big output of coal, oil, and gas production as well, but a developing industry in renewables; geothermal, wind, hydro, and solar. A largely forgotten resource that many underestimate also is the production of waste from metro areas which is usually exported to foreign countries more recently in Asia. Future state governments could consider the following options: • Considering that state electricity assets were deregulated it could be an idea for increased incentives to be introduced alongside solar power and set up a state owned energy retailer. • More Hydro facilities such as Kidston should be built in North QLD; furthermore pipelines should be built to connect this water to QLD regional townships and agriculture. • Assess the viability of sensitive water resources that may be susceptible and delicate during drought seasons, and find ways to mitigate impact on them from the water grid during such time periods, an example would be North Stradbroke Is. • Waste from Metro and Urban areas should be processed in QLD not shipping overseas, stronger legislation should be encouraged to discourage neglect of waste being shipped in areas that will also otherwise cause environmental harm. • Waste collection businesses must be held accountable if they are raising unfair prices on their customers and the general public for collecting rubbish and unfairly making a profit in the process, better waste management regulations must be introduced. • Introduce a state based penalty caps for big polluters – ETS mechanism and introduce incentives for everyday households who are complying with saving energy. Urban Planning, Housing, Public Transport: In recent years there has been a vast steady rise of concern from communities, businesses, and groups on numerous issues on urban planning and public housing. Some issues address the concern for the regional SEQ plans, the Toondah Harbour PDA, recent planning law changes, and the widening crisis of homelessness, long public waiting lists and rising crime. A particular concern noted is of planning new highways, urban sprawl in areas where space, vegetation, green and wildlife already exist. Future state governments could consider the following options: • Improve consultation with communities particularly surrounding PDA projects. • Amend planning legislation so that it can better protect RAMSAR wetlands and sensitive bush lands that it can protect wildlife and vegetation fro overdevelopment. • Develop urban density in CBD areas of regional QLD, and metro areas where infrastructure already exists and can be improved. • Develop public housing in areas susceptible to likely job prospects long term in Regional QLD (be it mining, research hubs, manufacturing, or energy). • Introduce drugs rehabilitation and PTSD programs for stressed public housing recipients across the state, and cultural empowered programs for TSI and Indigenous recipients in public housing. • Introduce more affordable public transport for students, pensioners, and unemployed via train, and bus, rising cost prices are making it more difficult for people to travel mobile and more people driving creates more carbon footprints. • Develop a high speed rail network for better accessibility across the state. Species Protection, National Parks and Green Spaces: A growing concern for species protection is rising in QLD, particularly for Koalas populations, migratory shorebirds, marine wildlife in the Great Barrier Reef and beyond. Concerns are also evident for plans to privatize national parks and create corporate investments outside the scope of state which could impact green spaces in such areas. Future state governments could consider the following options: • Better map the planning of species including in areas were developments are planned, with the spread of disease and illness all populations need to be factored. • Better mitigate and include the protection of Koala populations across QLD. • Better mitigate and include the protection of migratory shorebird populations. • Ensure limits are capped for any corporate investment in national parks to ensure that no overzealous ventures encroach green space or national park land. • Introduce community garden initiatives across the state in conjunction with city/shire councils, small business and Indigenous groups to encourage alternative lifestyle choices and encourage people to grow their own produce as well.

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