Science and the public interest have come off second best in the continuing fight between the Queensland Planning Minister Jeff Seeney and the observable reality of climate change, say the Queensland Greens.
Seeney, who is also Deputy Premier, has forced coastal local government to omit all references to the increasing sea levels that science tells us to expect.
According to the ABC, Mr. Seeney directed the Moreton Bay Regional Council "to amend its draft planning scheme to remove any assumption about a theoretical projected sea level rise from all and any provision of the scheme."
Previously, most council plans factored into their planning a sea level rise of 80 cm over the next century.
“Sea levels are rising,” said Greens candidate for Redcliffe, Pete Johnson. “Governments rely on all sorts of projections from transport demand to coal price forecasts. To ignore sea level projections selectively is at best short-sighted, but to order them ignored by local government could be considered tantamount to planning negligence.”
Queensland Greens spokesperson Dr. Charles Worringham added, “Planning is about the forseeable future, and vulnerable low-lying areas are clearly at much higher risk from storm surges as sea levels increase. Queenslanders expect their local council to undertake prudent planning for the future, and the State government to provide support - not ideologically-based interference.
“The Queensland Greens challenge Mr. Seeney to state what scientific advice he has that sea level increases do not impose heightened risk, and what legal advice he has that absolves Queenslanders from liability for future claims arising from actions taken using local plans that have had scientific projections censored out of them.’ said Dr. Worringham.