Queensland's anti-fracking lobby groups are piling on the pressure for the Queensland government to honour its election commitment to protect Channel Country rivers and floodplains from oil and gas before the end of the year.
Around 100 people attended a rally in front of Parliament House in Brisbane on Wednesday morning, during the last sitting week for 2023, complete with placards and chants demanding Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk to stop fracking in the Lake Eyre Basin.
The two Queensland Greens MPs, Brisbane South's Amy MacMahon and Maiwar's Michael Berkman attended the rally organised by the Wilderness Society, Lock the Gate and Western Rivers Alliance.
Mr Berkman told those gathered that while resource companies such as Santos might have the money, those opposing existing and new resource activity in Queensland's Channel Country had the numbers.
"We're only a year out from the next election and the ALP is still equivocating on this," he said.
His words echoed those of other speakers, including Wilderness Society Queensland campaigns manager Hannah Schuch, who said it was ime for the Queensland government to deliver on its longstanding commitment to Queenslanders and First Nations people, whose cultural connection to the land dated back tens of thousands of years.
She said the day was about showing mass support at a critical time in the process.
"A decision on the future of the Channel Country could be imminent," she said. "We have to make sure it's the right one, by making our voices heard."
A sheet handed round at the conclusion of the rally for people to send to their local MP said that it was clear from the consultation held by the government that there was community support for the strongest protections to be enacted, or regulatory option 4, spatial option 3, and environmental attributes option 2.
"Regulatory option 4 means no new oil and gas on the floodplains and only this will ensure true protection of the unique ecological values of the Lake Eyre Basin for future generations," it said.
The message will be enhanced by a stakeholder delegation, made up of Traditional Owners and landholders, to meet with politicians in Brisbane in coming weeks, according to Western Rivers Alliance coordinator Riley Rocco.
He said executive members of the Lake Eyre Basin Traditional Owners group, and possibly some pastoralists, would be meeting with Environment Minister Leanne Linard and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Partnerships Minister Leeanne Enoch, and were hoping to speak with Water Minister Glenn Butcher and Agriculture Minister Mark Furner as well.
Opposition Environment spokesperson Sam O'Connor said he would be happy to speak with a delegation at any time, saying the LNP was committed to making sure the balance was right to protect the Channel Country region for generations to come.
"The LNP accepts the need to more comprehensively protect the rivers and floodplains by updating the Strategic Environmental Area and Designated Precincts mapping by better identifying key areas and special ecological features," he said.
"Our team is still consulting with the conservation, cattle, tourism and resources sectors as well as with the traditional owners and relevant local governments to determine the best regulatory framework going forward.
"We are disappointed with the way Labor has conducted this process in their almost decade in power.
"By contrast, we are being open and transparent. We are listening to all stakeholders to make sure we get this right because the future of this region matters to Queenslanders, especially the people who work and live here."