ANDREW POWELL – New minister for Environment and Heritage Protection
FOLLOWING his appointment as Queensland Minister for Environment and Heritage Pro
tection, Andrew Powell gave an exclusive interview to HT editor Michael Berry about his sudden transformation from opposition member for Glasshouse to a key state ministerial portfolio.
Your title is Minister for Environment and Heritage Protection. As a description, what does that say to you?
It says to me a number of environmental matters. A big issue for the state and even discussed in this electorate for example, is coal seam gas. Many Queenslanders have concerns with that industry, because they don’t know enough about it and they aren’t convinced by what the former government was doing in terms of protecting the environment.
I understand I will have a role in establishing a Gaslands Land and Watercommission to be established and staffed in the regions and specifically designed to work with landholders around access issues, property rights, compensation, but also increasing our understanding of the aquifers and what impact coal seam gas can have in the future. Ultimately it is ensuring the community has some confidence that my department and this new commission has credence and science behind it.
Similarly with Gladstone Harbour and subsequent harbour developments up the coast of Queensland. These are the very public issues that the media has latched on to and the community is concerned about.