30 July 2017


An exclusive ReachTEL poll, conducted for WWF-Australia, shows 68% of southeast Queensland residents would support new laws to stop excessive tree-clearing.

In addition, more than 8 out of 10 people are concerned about the decline of koalas – which scientists link to the destruction of forests.

ReachTEL surveyed 1158 residents across southeast Queensland on the night of July 13.

Dr Taylor said the even stronger response from undecided voters sends a clear message to politicians.

Eighty percent of undecided voters would support new laws to stop excessive tree-clearing and 96% are concerned by the decline of koalas.

“The results show that excessive tree-clearing will be an issue in the upcoming state election,” said WWF-Australia conservation scientist Dr Martin Taylor.

“Bulldozing of wildlife habitat is out of control, tripling since the former Queensland Government took the axe to the laws in 2012-13."

“Bulldozers are killing and endangering koalas and other unique Queensland animals and plants at a vast scale. People want to see sensible safeguards brought back,” he said.

The survey results come as Dr Taylor released a new analysis of government figures on further tree-clearing in the pipeline.

In just the past year 2016-17, 369,000 hectares of intact or mature forest has been flagged for clearing under “self-assessable codes” introduced by the previous government, which remain in force.

No permit is required for this clearing, only a notice sent to the government. The area notified in just the past year is more than all the mature forest bulldozed in the previous six years from 2009 to 2015.

Dr Taylor said the thinning code was the worst because it allows someone to turn forests into paddocks with scattered trees quite legally, without permits, wildlife surveys, offsets or safeguards that other projects must observe.

New images taken in May near Miles on the western downs show the impact of this type of thinning.

Native forest went from this:

Aerial view of native forest in the Miles area on the Western Downs, Queensland, May 2017. Photo supplied.

To this:

Tree thinning in the Miles area on the Western Downs. Queensland= May 2017. This image show the true devastating impact of tree thinning.  Photo supplied

WWF-Australia Media Contact:

Mark Symons, Senior Media Officer, 0400 985 571