Cape York Clarion
Cape York Clarion
Rasmussen talks crocodiles with Cape York elders
Laura showcased the annual rodeo and races at the weekend attracting more than 1500 local residents and tourists.
Katters Australian Party candidate for Cook, Gordon Rasmussen consulted widely with Peninsula residents about Cape York issues.
Gordon spoke to several elders about crocodile numbers asking if they agreed with the KAP legislation allowing management to be handed to local Aboriginal communities.
Pictured with Gordon, is Coen elder and retired police blacktracker Barry Port who described an explosion of croc numbers across the Peninsula.
He said the renowned and popular fishing destination of Port Stewart on the coast east of Coen is alive with crocs which were in need of culling.
Mr Port said fishermen had been stalked by large crocs near the boat ramp and dogs had been taken.
“As soon as crocs see a boat they will swim hundreds of metres towards it but fishermen just up anchor and take off,” said Mr Port who has a residence at Port Stewart.
“Fishermen could be taken so there should be a cull because there are far too many crocs and they have no fear of humans.”
Mr Rasmussen said he had been told of similar problems by fishermen and farmers in the Mossman and Port Douglas areas.
“The Peninsula is dependent on tourism in the dry season and hundreds of southern tourists travel there to catch fish, camp and take in the beautiful scenery,” Mr Rasmussen said.
“When tourist numbers drop off because nobody can go near water anywhere in case of a crocodile attack, something has to be done about the large numbers of crocs being found in places where they haven’t been before.”
The controversial KAP Safe Waterways bill to allow regional crocodile management is before the parliamentary Environment Committee for consideration.
Trad plans to reintroduce Wild Rivers MK II and lock up Cape York
Green preferences are driving the Labor Government’s proposed draconian environmental policies as a trade-off for the Adani coal mine approval.
A source close to the ALP is warning Wild Rivers “on steroids” rebadged as ‘Pristine Rivers’ will be put back on the table along with revamped, tough vegetation management laws should the ALP win the upcoming election.
The source said revisiting Wild Rivers and vegetation management laws are on the agenda for the upcoming State ALP conference to be held in Townsville at the Convention Centre on July 28 and 29.
A World Heritage listing over the Laura sandstone escarpment country, mooted by the State Government, also looms large for the people of the Peninsula.
Deputy Premier Jackie Trad is moving to pacify the Greens’ hostility over approvals to allow Australia’s largest coal mine in Central Queensland to go ahead.
Trad and her colleague, Environment and Heritage Protection Minister Stephen Miles, have not yet taken into consideration the strident opposition of Cape York Peninsula communities, the Cape York Land Council and pastoralists alike, some of whom claim they will campaign against the party at the State election expected on November 4 this year.
Pastoralists and some communities believe a World Heritage nomination by the State Government will be the precursor for listing the entire Peninsula, in effect the beginning of the end for the economic prosperity of Aboriginal communities sitting on vast tracts of grazing property.
In a recent radio interview, Chairman of the CYLC, Richie AhMat castigated the proposed new versions of Wild Rivers and vegetation laws as well as the existing environmental overlays on most Aboriginal freehold and Deed of Grant in Trust land(DOGIT) covering nearly one half of the land area of the Peninsula.
Referring to the Wild Rivers legislation, Mr AhMat asked how the government expected Aboriginal people to start up businesses and to be economically viable “when these land restrictions appear out of nowhere?”
“You can’t talk about economic development on one hand and you can’t talk about indigenous employment on the other, and you can’t talk about Northern Australia on both hands.”
In reply to a question about the as yet undisclosed ‘Pristine Rivers’ policy Mr AhMat alluded to funding that had been allocated in the past two state budgets purportedly for consultation with traditional owners.
He said he was worried about all the rivers in Cape York which could be affected by a lock up policy.
“All of our rivers in Cape York are fresh water rivers, water is a huge commodity now and nobody in their wildest dreams 10 years or fifteen years ago expected them to buy a bottle of fresh water,” Mr Ah Mat said.
“To buy a bottle of fresh water is more than a litre of fuel.
“Why does the government want to lock up Cape York, because they have a 20 to 30 year plan but they aren’t talking to anybody, it’s all secretive because we are out of sight and out of mind.
“We fought long and hard against the wild rivers, long and hard and we were untied as one on Cape York.
“This Pristine Rivers believe me there are rumblings about it in 1 William Street (Executive Building) now.
“This legislation over land is going to block everything.”
Gordon Rasmussen, Katters Australian Party candidate for the Cook electorate, which takes in all of Cape York, agreed with Mr Ah Mat.
“It looks like Northern Development is just a talk fest because what Mr Ah Mat says about locking up all the rivers and land on Cape York makes a mockery of the $5 billion federal fund for northern land development,” Mr Rasmussen pointed out.
“How does the federal government expect to achieve anything in an area like the Peninsula to help economic development for struggling communities when the State Government has divided up most of the Aboriginal land into nature reserves, national parks and heritage areas?
“If the Labor Party gets back into government we are all in for a very rough trot.”
Lakeland to become the ‘green power’ hub of the Far North
Lakeland will soon become the Far Northern hub for green power following three years of wind studies carried out by a Canberra company which is proposing to erect 35 towers up to 240 metres high near the township.
Already 40 hectares of solar panels this month will come online supplying 13 megawatts of electricity to the grid from the recently completed Lakeland Solar and Storage facility.
On Wednesday proponents of the $200 million wind farm project, Windlab Australia, met with Lakeland residents to gain support for the massive project.
At the meeting company representative Joshua Petrass told 30 residents and farmers that if their applications received government approval, construction would start in 2018.
The company was offering annual community grants of $10,000 for local residents and more than 100 jobs during construction.
Not all those at the meeting were in favour of the wind farm, in particular those land owners living two or more kilometres from the nearest tower.
Long-time Lakeland grazier Joy Marriott told the meeting she had nearly completed construction of a caravan park on her property.
She said the nearest tower would be two kilometres from the site and while the wind was blowing and the blades were turning, the ambient noise associated with all wind turbines would have a detrimental effect on her and her family, park visitors and domestic animals.
“Why don’t you build them up on the ranges, instead of building 240 metre towers next to people’s properties?” Ms Marriott asked spokesman Josh Petrass.
In reply he claimed the wind studies showed the best location was on the flatter areas about six kilometres north-west of the town.
Not all those present were convinced the company has chosen the best location.
Town resident Beth Bennett said the towers should be built on top of the range and not near the town or private properties.
“We don’t want these structures near the town,” Ms Bennett said.
“We will soon be surrounded by the next stage of the solar panels.”
Farmer Annette Marriott spoke in favour of the project saying it would be a great boost for the community.
Katters Australian Party candidate for Cook Gordon Rasmussen was invited to the meeting and questioned the “carrots” being offered to locals, one being a 1.5 per cent company shareholding divided among 40 affected landowners.
“Quite frankly this is an insult to local people to put up with these monstrous towers blotting the landscape near their properties,” he said.
“They should have 15 per cent of the voting power. Pending the debt to equity ratio of the project 1.5 per cent could make these shares worthless.
“It seems this company already has finance and most approvals in place and this meeting is only window dressing for the company image.
“If you must have these inefficient suppliers of electricity then build them right away from people.”
Mr Petrass said another meeting to update residents would be held with a date to be announced. – contributed