The pot is calling the kettle black on Cape York Peninsula
A mooted ban on tourists visiting Cape York is a media beat-up and has little basis in fact.
It might however deter visitors and their money from assisting languishing Peninsula communities. Tourist operators already have been called about the newspaper story and they have advised callers there will be few meaningful closures.
A Cairns newspaper ran a story on Tuesday claiming ‘traditional owners’ were sick of messy tourists visiting different parts of the Peninsula leaving rubbish behind and they intended to close off popular coastal beauty spots.
A map published in the paper cites the north western beach camp of Vrilya Point which will be off limits this Easter along with Janie Creek to the south.
These once popular beach camping spots are on Rio Tinto’s mining lease and have been closed to any visitors for several years, since Rio began a drilling exploration program looking for bauxite deposits.
No Entry signs, locked gates and barbed wire fences have stopped access for 4WD’s and unless visitors can get a key from either Rio in Weipa or from the native title holders in Bamaga then no one can legally enter.
As far as restricting access to Pajinka at the Tip of the Cape, alleged traditional owners would have to prevent tourists from crossing the Jardine River on the car ferry.
It is extremely doubtful the Northern Peninsula Area Council would take such action with their ferry being the only source of income for the cash-strapped community other than local government grants.
A council spokesperson knew nothing of the newspaper article or any proposed tourist bans.
It is a bit rich for ‘traditional owners’ to blame tourists for littering. Sure some urban types who camp on rivers or at recognised, but not managed camping grounds may leave rubbish behind.
The state government has long held a MOU with traditional owners through councils to maintain camping areas and tourist haunts found on DOGIT or Aboriginal Freehold land, which covers the cost of cleaning up rubbish, usually by indigenous rangers or national park staff.
However councils seldom clean up their own or tourist rubbish as evidenced by a litany of wrecked cars and beer cans which can be seen by anyone who drives along a Peninsula road.
Traditional owners should be mindful of their own back yards before blaming visitors for littering. Visit any back street of any community and the mess can be horrifying.
Unfortunately this writer has to admit that many indigenous people are wanton litterers and ‘caring for country’ is a slick slogan engendered for terribly uninformed city slickers by the ABC and their socialist buddies.
The Cairns newspaper quoted an alleged Aboriginal traditional owner who is actually from Moa Island, the St Paul’s community of Pacific Islanders whose grandfather moved to the mainland. He is wanting to close down Pajinka at the Tip to tourists.
He is a Solomon Islander who has no right to speak for Pajinka, said a Peninsula traditional owner and confidante who has had enough of false prophets conning gullible media..
Speaking of the Pajinka ruins, it is well known to every tourist who has ever had their photo taken next to the ‘you are standing at the northern most point of the Australian continent’ sign, that the former Bush Pilots’ plush resort handed to local Aborigines over 25 years ago has been a monument to indigenous business incompatibility and indifference.
After Bushies left the resort as a going concern in the late 80’s, which had earned the company big money at the time, it took less than two years for it to collapse into disrepair.
Tourists have been disgusted with the sight of termite-infested, collapsed executive homes and accommodation units as they drive through the looted ruins to the nearby parking area at the base of the Tip.
So much so that over many years videos and photographs of the once prosperous tourist resort have been posted on Facebook and other social media tagged with derogatory commentary.
Had the local murris been smart they would have bulldozed the ruins long ago and left a neat and tidy patch of rainforest for the tourists to drool over and make kind remarks. Instead interlopers from the south tried to sell Australia’s most valuable and strategic 211 hectare freehold Pajinka site to China.
We hope this proposed closure of the Tip is not cover for a Chinese takeover.
This one example of neglect has done more to widen the gap, other than the spiralling indigenous youth crime rate, leaving the gimmick of ‘closing the gap’ floundering in the dust of the 60,000 annual visitors.
If the state government had been properly managing any of these significant tourist destinations there would have been rubbish bins and toilet blocks provided at these attractions a decade ago.
Instead all levels of government are content to leave major clean-ups of beaches and camping areas to wonderful volunteer organisations such as Tangaroa Blue which removes tens of tonnes of rubbish every couple of years from the Peninsula..
Labor MP’s are well supported by northern Peninsula and Torres Strait people yet they do precious little to save them from economic starvation and local inhabitants still cannot see the forest for the trees
It reeks of hypocrisy for the pot to call the kettle black.
from A B Salmon