Category Archives: northern development
In response to a public outcry, Katters Australia Party is drafting legislation to remove or cull crocodiles in northern waterways after a spate of savage attacks on tourists and residents.
The recent death of a spearfisherman and the mauling of a man at Innisfail by crocodiles prompted a series of public meetings called by the Member for Dalrymple Shane Knuth to gauge public support for crocodile removal, culling, egg collection and safari hunting.
Meetings were held last week at Mareeba, Innisfail and Port Douglas.
At the Mareeba meeting Mr Knuth said the attacks had been given international media coverage and tourists were now cancelling visits to the Far North because they were frightened of being attacked by a salt water crocodile.
Former deputy Mayor of Mareeba Shire, Evan McGrath spoke of crocodiles close to the town and how farmers had been menaced by them when checking their water pumps in creeks and channels.
He said crocodiles had been seen in irrigation channels and the Barron River near his farm. “Their numbers are out of control in areas where crocodiles have never been seen before.”
“Enough is enough,” Mr Knuth told a supportive audience of more than 100 residents.
“We have to bring the numbers back under control. Over the past 40 years since croc shooting finished the numbers have exploded and crocs no longer fear man and they have become cheeky and not afraid to attack people or domestic animals.”
A three metre long photo backdrop of a crocodile with a kelpie in its mouth reminded the audience of the audacity and savagery of a crocodile eating a pet dog near Innisfail two weeks ago, greatly upsetting the dog’s young owner.
Supporting the KAP legislation was the Chairman of Cape York Peninsula Land Council Richie Ahmat who suggested a truck load of large crocs should be taken from a local crocodile farm and dropped into the Brisbane River.
“Then we would see some action,” Mr Ahmat quipped.
Former Gulf area cattle station manager Jack Fraser told the meeting the excessive number of crocs in the vast Lower Gulf district were out of hand and should be culled as a matter of urgency.
He said several years ago a large crocodile on a cattle station was found dead on a riverbank. It was cut open to reveal 60 plastic cattle ear tags in its stomach.
“Sixty ear tags represents a loss to the station of about $60,000 worth of stock on today’s market,” Mr Fraser said.
Member for Kennedy Bob Katter received thunderous applause when he stated the obvious: “The Brisbane Government does not care a less about North Queenslanders and it is time we looked after our own problems.
“Home rule is across the world and like Brexit, North Queensland must now take a stance,” referring to a new State of North Queensland.
Member for Mt Isa Robbie Katter said he would present a bill to State Parliament in the May sittings to address runaway crocodile numbers that were of grave danger to the public.
He alluded to making unchecked crocodile attacks a precursor to blocking the May budget should the Labor Government not support his bill.
Meanwhile the Independent Member for Cook, Billy Gordon, did not attend either the Mareeba or Port Douglas meetings held in his electorate.
On his Facebook page after the meetings Mr Gordon claimed he would not be supporting the crocodile removal legislation because he had not been invited to either the Mareeba or Port Douglas meetings.
“The needs of my electorate are quite substantive, the areas of health, education, telecommunications….and tourism are of primary concern to me,” the post said.
“It’s on these issues that hard- nosed negotiations should be had on.
“As a matter of public record I have not been invited to or included in meetings in both Mareeba and Port Douglas to advocate for culling of crocs.”
A KAP spokesman said today Mr Gordon’s office was contacted early on Tuesday morning by staff inviting him to the meeting.
“On Wednesday morning his office put in an apology telling us they were unsure if Mr Gordon would attend,” the spokesman said.
“A meeting flyer was emailed to his office. KAP contacted his staff who said they were unable to send a representative to the meeting.
“KAP staff also left a message on his phone,” the spokesman said.
Mr Gordon is believed to be in Melbourne and was unable to be contacted for comment.
At the Mareeba forum, local Labor Party stalwart Duncan McInnes said most Aboriginal communities and Traditional Owners he had spoken to supported the proposed legislation.
A group of Coen residents has called for an independent audit into the distribution of $260 million of federal and state funding allocated for a major upgrade of the Peninsula Development Road.
One Nation senator Malcolm Roberts was invited to the Coen meeting on Wednesday night to hear the concerns of locals who believe there had been a wide-spread waste of government funds by Roadtek.
Long-time local grazier Paddy Shephard explained to the meeting how an Indigenous Land Use Agreement(ILUA) was about to signed off by the State Government giving part control of the PDR to a “Coen Aboriginal family group” which had no connection to the highway.
Another resolution was passed at the meeting asking Senator Roberts to instigate a senate inquiry into the granting of an ILUA over the PDR, an important arterial tourist and defence road.
Senator Roberts is no stranger to the Cape having taken a number of holiday trips to the Top.
He said he was at the meeting to listen to the concerns of local people and would do what he could to have the matters investigated.
“It seems the place is being held back and the road is important for defence and the opening up of the region,” Senator Roberts said.
“There is no accountability and now it seems lots of waste in general and an abuse of power where ordinary people are missing out every day.
“We are losing our sovereignty in government under regulations coming from the United Nations.”
Businessman Barry Mulley launched an emotional attack on the Cape York Land Council for demanding the PDR be handed over to their elitist members allegedly in order to take a cut of funding for contractors engaged in the upgrade.
“Once they have control of the road they can do what they like with it even charge a toll for tourists to use it and decide which contractors will get jobs,” Mr Mulley said.
“We believe local indigenous people should get jobs on the road but the land council should not be in control of it. There are too many jobs for the boys on big pay that has pushed up the cost of building it.
“There is no accountability from the government or land council in how they spend large amounts taxpayers money.
“I am sick of paying large amounts of tax only to have it wasted by the government on mismanagement of the road works.”
Mr Mulley said Peninsula ratepayers and residents had no political representation which is why Senator Roberts was invited to take their concerns to Parliament.
“Nobody cares about the Peninsula. The government just throws lots of money into it without any accountability,” he added.
The notorious ‘Land Claim Number 1’ according to Cape York Alliance member Jack Wilkie-Jans gave the CYLC the ability to claim ownership of the PDR.
“How do just nine claimants speak for the hundreds of clan groups across the Cape?” he asked.
“Is it any wonder there is such widespread derision among the indigenous and white people of the Cape.”
Deep dust holes have developed in a gravel section of the Peninsula Development Road 40 klms south east of Weipa. The dust holes have been flagged by road authorities however most drivers unfamiliar with the road find themselves dropping into the 400 mm crevices before they can react.
Once a vehicle falls into a hole the steering becomes unresponsive and drivers can often lose control at speeds over 40 klm/hr.
Nearby property owners believe this road disrepair will soon lead to a roll over and injury for unsuspecting tourists who often tow caravans or bike trailers.
The Main Roads Department currently is laying bitumen on southern parts of the PDR, but the Weipa section apparently is a long way from being sealed.
Federal and State funding of $220 million for PDR upgrades has been seen largely misspent according to Peninsula businessmen who accused the MRD and Roadtek of discriminatory tendering and kowtowing to a select few of the indigenous hierarchy.
“There has been awful mismanagement of this project and millions wasted on so-called jobs for the boys like cultural heritage surveys and wrong road materials or spending $70,000 a day to cart water to fill dams because the wet season did not fill them when they could have just carted the water from the Coen River on demand,” one irate local told Cairns News.
“A lot of the water they tipped into dams just ran out the bottom or the sides.
“The whole project has been blackmailed and threatened by the laughable Land Claim No 1 led by the Cape York Land Council.
“The land council told the Main Roads Minister to give them all the work or they would shut down the job.
“Locals don’t mind the indigenous people getting work but they have stretched their credibility with most people on the Cape with their outrageous demands and prices being charged.
Editor: The MRD has repaired these dangerous dust holes much to their credit and made the road much safer.
Harsh vegetation management laws to be enacted by the State Government have united political identities across the spectrum. Protesters marched on the Gordonvale electorate office of State Treasurer Curtis Pitt on Saturday. Speakers at the rowdy rally of 80 farmers, politicians, indigenous representatives and political aspirants, warned the proposed laws would “shut down” agriculture and make criminals out of farmers if they clear regrowth or vegetation on their farms
Atherton solicitor Anne English on the doorstep of Curtis Pitt’s office told the rally the new laws turned farmers into criminals by reversing the onus of proof and removing the centuries-old ‘mistaken belief’ principle as a defence if trees are cleared.
Indigenous protesters Duncan McInnes, Mareeba and Chairman of the Cape York Alliance Rod Burke
Protesters march on Treasurer Curtis Pitt’s Gordonvale office
from Jim O’Toole at Cooktown
The highly controversial purchase of the 150,000 acre Springvale Station, 50 klms west of Cooktown by the State Government is refusing to die in the media, in spite of a recent scientific report clearing the Lakeland farming district of any reef runoff from the Springvale river catchment.
Taking advantage of annual coral bleaching on the Great Barrier Reef , 200 nautical miles north of Cooktown that this year covered a larger than normal area, ABC Television and their usual Green bed mates have wasted tens of thousands of dollars of taxpayers money with false and misleading reports.
Tuesday night’s 7.30 Report hosted by Mark Willacy took the cake.
After lower Cape York Peninsula viewers last year were treated to one of the most misleading reports ever broadcast by the ABC about land clearing at Olive Vale station, 60 klms to the north, WWF head kicker Andrew Picone was joined on the show by Tim Hughes of the South Endeavour Trust.
Local viewers said the story was devoid of fact and an insult to Peninsula farmers and cattle producers who believed comments by Mr Hughes amounted to a “bid for paid management rights.”
“Never let the facts get in the way of a Green story,” another landowner, who asked not to be named, told Cairns News.
Tim Hughes, through the South Endeavour Trust, manages the neighbouring property Kings Plains.
The Trust has 10 properties in its portfolio, purportedly managed by Mr Hughes for ‘conservation values.’
Predictably the ABC trotted out an indigenous group from Laura to visit the seasonal river.
They said members of their community visited the Normanby to catch fish and for recreational camping.
Cairns News can report that some indigenous people regard river beds as rubbish dumps, as the picture below of the nearby Laura River shows.
This campsite in the Laura River bed was photographed last year after a group of indigenous people left a mountain of rubbish behind. Beer bottles, food wrapping, an old mattress and disposable baby nappies were strewn about the river bed.
It was not removed and ended up being flushed down the river in the first fresh late last year.
Kings Plains manager Daryl Paradise and Mr Picone claimed a mining application by former Cook Shire Mayor and onetime owner of Springvale, Graham Elmes would silt-up the entire Barrier Reef if mining in the sandy bed of the West Normanby River went ahead.
Mr Elmes explained that removing gold or tin from sandy river beds is quite common in the Far North.
A large gold dredge was operating in the Mitchell River last year and the rich Palmer River had been extensively mined in this way for 120 years, without any evidence of serious river degradation.
Along with Mark Willacy, who was present at nearby Lakeland three weeks ago when the Great Barrier Reef Water Science Task Force gave the entire catchment area of the Normanby River system a clean bill of health, Mr Hughes seemed to be unaware of this finding. http://www.gbr.qld.gov.au/documents/gbrwst-interim-report-highres.pdf
Chief Scientist for Queensland, Dr Geoff Garrett, who heads the Task Force, told farmers in late May that the study found no measurable runoff coming from the Normanby catchment area that eventually runs into the sea.
This makes the $7m purchase of Springvale a rather spurious acquisition to halt alleged reef runoff.
Most farmers agree the well-improved cattle station, which runs 3500 breeder cattle, was purchased solely to prevent the proposed West Normanby dam site from going ahead.
Prior to the election, the Federal Government allocated $825,000 to conduct a feasibility study for a new dam site to provide reliable irrigation water for the nearby, expanding Lakeland farming district.
A substantial State Government budget allocation was made for the purpose of progressing World Heritage nominations for Cape York Peninsula.
The WWF and ACF have for two decades or more pushed the ALP to nominate the entire Cape for World Heritage, in defiance of the wishes of all Aboriginal communities.
by Jim O’Toole in Cairns for the election
Political chicanery and deception by the Liberal National Party handed the nation’s most colourful politician an 11 per cent surge in popularity at Saturday’s poll.
Bob Katter romped it in leaving young Liberal opponent Johnathon Pavetto choking in his dust with 62 per cent of the two party preferred vote against Pavetto’s 38 per cent, representing an 11.4 per cent swing.
A concerted campaign by the Liberals erecting signage at most Atherton Tableland booths claiming a ‘vote for Katter is a vote for Labor and Greens’ spectacularly backfired.
According to LNP sources, two of the Liberals responsible for the false signs, former Eacham Shire Mayor Ray Byrnes and Atherton LJ Hooker franchisee Kevin ‘Rambo’ Ramke will endure a “reaming out” by Johnathan Pavetto and his team members for the failed campaign.
Katter’s booth workers reported hostile comments from voters after viewing the discredited signs then checking the order of preferences on KAP how-to-vote cards.
Heading off the unlawful Liberal signage were advertisements in local newspapers the preceding week featuring the KAP card that clearly showed the party had preferenced the ALP and Greens second last and last.
The thought bubble originating this misleading message began at the 2013 federal election,when the LNP placed large roadside signs in the Atherton district. It nearly cost Katter his seat. This time shrewd voters no longer believed the LNP.
Proforma letters-to-the-editor writers such as Ray Byrnes, Helen Kanak(Dickinson) of Mareeba and Beverly Prescott of Atherton made fools of themselves with their hateful spiel demonising Bob Katter.
Not to be outdone the narrowly re-elected Member for Leichardt, Warren Entsch lambasted Bob Katter on ABC Radio Monday morning for not bringing home the bacon to the Kennedy electorate.
It seems Mr Entsch, like Mr Katter, does not read newspapers. Two page advertisements placed in regional newspapers by KAP detailed the vast amount of funds for infrastructure and roads that have poured into Kennedy over the past two terms of Parliament, a direct result of Mr Katter’s administration.
For incredulous Leichardt voters, Mr Entsch’s attempt at the pot calling the kettle black must be a slap in their face.
The only significant infrastructure building in Mr Entsch’s electorate over his past two terms has been a $220 million road construction project on Cape York Peninsula.
Mr Entsch omits to mention this funding was put in place by the previous Labor Government Minister for Infrastructure and Transport, Anthony Albanese.
Election results in the north
Political party pundits and smart university commentators are at a loss to understand the re-election of Katter and the huge resurgence of Pauline Hanson and One Nation in the senate.
Posturing all sorts of theories on radio and television the commentators jump from one lame excuse to another, because these people, just like party pollies, News Ltd and Fairfax reporters, are far removed from reality.
Letters to the editor and comments received by Cairns News and most other notable independent news services for the past several years describe readers’ anguish at being left out of the policy loop, where the embedded bureaucracy make the decisions that the parties simply endorse thus denying any say to electors.
One example is the sovereignty-destroying Trans Pacific Partnership treaty agreed to by the Liberal Government, others are the China free trade agreement, foreign ownership and unbridled immigration.
Islam, publicly embraced by Malcolm Turnbull and his wife Lucy, gave Pauline Hanson a tremendous platform prior to the election. While Islam dominates 15 per cent of the vote in Turnbull’s electorate and 14 others across NSW and Victoria, Turnbull was unapologetic to the nation for kowtowing to Islam, Sharia law and halal.
For Hanson it was manna from heaven.
The two Liberal held seats of Capricornia and Herbert look like going to Labor, but in this case the reasons seem obscure, although both cities of Rockhampton and Townsville have high levels of unemployment thanks to the party duopoly’s destruction of manufacturing and primary industries.
Mr Katter says he has been humbled by the result.
“I thank the hundreds of great Australians who stood outside in the wind, hot sun and in some places cold handing out our How to Vote Cards passionately for Kennedy and the future of their country; and everyone who voted. And I thank my brilliant strategy team who got our key messages out there,” Mr Katter said.
“But upon this base, if the Australian people have delivered a small modicum of power, that power will be used to create a happy and a prosperous North Qld.
“The financial oppression of the elderly, the struggling abandoned young families will be addressed
“It looks like we’ll be in a very powerful position.
“We will be saying our prayers to the good Lord and we hope we can get enlightenment through to the people who have to date exercised power in Canberra.”
Working Group for the Establishment of North Queensland
Northern MPs, academics, economists and community leaders have joined forces to push forward the case for North Queensland as an independent state.
The newly formed Working Group for the Establishment of North Queensland believes it is time for a concerted push for the independence of a Northern State to secure future development.
KAP leader and Federal Member for Kennedy, Bob Katter believes the working group will assist in establishing the case as a strong representative body to lay the ground work for a referendum.
Mr Katter said he is sick of the hearing that a northern state isn’t economically viable.
“The arguments put up by the State Government that we can’t afford it are an offence. Just the opposite is true. We can’t afford not to,” he said.
“We have not baseload power, no dams, no real development and this is in contrast to the massive cannibalism economic spending in Brisbane, not even in the south east corner! Just Brisbane. In fact I think a lot of people on the Gold Coast and
Sunshine Coast and the South West, would like to come with us. There are few more centralised governments in the world.
Member for Mt Isa Rob Katter said the group will also assist in the push for strategic long term policy and development, something the north has lacked for a long time.
“This committee will work to make this proposition become a reality, this is more than just a thought bubble, it’s the beginning of a real future for North Queensland,”
“The reason for being independent is a simple one. It is fundamentally better for all of us if decisions about North Queensland’s future are made by the people who care most about North Queensland – that is the people of North Queensland.
Federal Member for Dawson George Christensen who has for a long time advocated for a referendum on this issue had written to all MPs, senators and mayors who represent areas above the Tropic of Capricorn to invite them to be part of a such a move.
“The committee is for action not more talk. The people of the north deserve a fair hearing on this, this working group is well placed to push for a referendum on the formation of a new state of North Queensland,” he said.
The working group hopes to meet on a monthly basis and involve other community leaders to contribute to the campaign.
Confirmed NQ Working Group as follows:
|George Christensen MP||Federal Member for Dawson (LNP)|
|Rob Pyne MP||State Member for Cairns (Independent)|
|Jeff Cox||Cane farmer and grazier|
|Colin Dwyer||Leading economist|
|David Moyle||Founder of Townsville Ratepayers Association|
|Peter Raffles||Barrister and academic|
|Henry Fracchia||Civil Engineer Executive Director of Infrastructure Design at UDP Group|
|Bob Katter MP||Federal Member for Kennedy (KAP)|
|Robbie Katter MP||State Member for Mt Isa (KAP)|
|Shane Knuth MP||State Member for Dalrymple (KAP)|
|Vicky Kippin O’Connor||Grower and grazier, former
The Federal Government’s Northern Development legislative program could take a hit should a double dissolution election be called on July 2. The Government has pledged $5 Billion for development from the Kimberley region in Western Australia to eastern Cape York Peninsula. The enabling bill to secure this massive project could stall and not be presented at the next Parliamentary sittings.
Agriculture will be the main beneficiary of the long sought after strategy with large-scale irrigated cropping projects to be funded on a 50-50 basis, starting at $50 million.
The CSIRO has been charged with mapping the areas of arable soils across the north, already identifying 16 million hectares, about 5 per cent of the total northern land mass.
The notion of Northern Development and large scale irrigated farmland has been around for decades but its main proponent in more recent years has been Kennedy MP Bob Katter.
He says the Government must get the bill through Parliament before the election, because he did not trust the Labor Party to continue with the scheme should it win on July 2.
Katter urged the Member for Leichardt and chairman of the Joint Select Committee On Northern Australia, Warren Entsch to ensure it is passed through both Houses at the next sitting starting April 18.
“The CSIRO might have found several dam sites on eastern Cape York, but the State Labor Government and their bed-mates the WWF, Wilderness Society and CAFNEC are hell bent on shutting the Peninsula down to prevent any agriculture or other development, thus denying indigenous communities jobs and a future,” Mr Katter pointed out.
“Successive state governments have plastered the entire Cape York Peninsula with environmental overlays covering about 70 per cent of its land mass, stopping any economic development for pastoralists and indigenous communities, so we must get some development on what is left.”
CSIRO researcher Dr Peter Stone has been heading up the North Australia Water Resources Assessment looking for substantial dam sites to irrigate proposed large scale farmland.
Dr Stone told ABC Radio that 16 million hectares of arable soils had been identified as suitable for irrigation and 90 dams sites had been found to provide up to 15,000 gigalitres of stored water.
The north was inundated with an average 2 million gigalitres of rainfall each year, of which 90 per cent evaporates, 10 per cent goes into streams and about 2 per cent enters the groundwater storage, he said.
“The research by CSIRO proves these projects can be taken seriously and I have been pushing for 20 years that northern development has to occur, because for too long southern cities have lived off our coat tails of copper, coal and cattle and its time we put this country back on track,” Mr Katter said.
Aboriginal leader Noel Pearson(above) has been scathing of the State Government over land use on the Peninsula. At a recent Mareeba meeting he stressed the need for more secure land tenure on the Peninsula and likened proposed draconian vegetation management laws to a “re-run of Wild Rivers,” an impost he said he had fought to get rid of for five years.
Nearly 70 per cent of Cape York covered by nature reserves or national parks; little left for Aboriginal economic benefit
Aboriginal people of Cape York Peninsula are being duped and dudded by the State Government over large land ‘hand overs’ that the local communities believe will prevent them from earning income.
On April 7, another 54,000 hectares north of Cooktown was handed over to several tribal groups from Hopevale, adding even more locked-up land to the vast national park estate on Cape York.
Since the CYPLUS (Cape York Peninsula Land Use Study) research of the 80’s and early 90’s once productive grazing land has steadily been resumed by State Governments, mainly the ALP, to be gazetted as national park or some type of nature reserve.
Nature reserves, national parks, regional parks, timber reserves and DOGIT land shaded areas cover at least 70 per cent of the Peninsula leaving small areas for grazing or commercial purposes that are not of any economic benefit to Aboriginal groups
Various Aboriginal corporations gratefully sign up to vast areas of former cattle stations, such as the Olkola people when last year they were handed five, once viable large cattle properties in central Cape York Peninsula totalling 1.5 million acres that used to run 30,000 cattle.
The Prescribed Body Corporate gleefully accepted the gift from the State Government, but seemingly did not properly read the paperwork. The PBC just helped the National Parks and Wildlife Service add another one million acres to their vast estate, on which no cattle grazing is allowed.
The remaining portion of Aboriginal Freehold can be used for grazing or selective timber cutting, but under the ALP environmental laws would have to be excluded from the nature reserves and park area by fencing it off.
The fencing would cost several million dollars and require maintenance on a weekly basis to be effective.
Indigenous leader Noel Pearson angrily said, “…again Aborigines have been duped by the Labor/Green bureaucracy.”
Noel Pearson sick and tired of being ‘dudded’ by the Labor/Green bureaucracy
Pearson heaped vitriol on the Labor and former LNP governments at a large meeting of stakeholders in Mareeba recently for dudding the communities of Cape York over land use.
“We have no property rights on Cape York and we need upgraded tenure. There are lots of fronts where all landowners are vulnerable,” he said.
Public servants who once worked for environmental lobby groups were targeted by Pearson for pushing extreme green agendas within government.
“These greens have infiltrated indigenous groups and government departments and it’s like a tag team, they are all the same, and have networked with all departments,” Mr Pearson said.
“Public servants should declare their association with environmental groups.
“The proposition there is going to be land clearing the size of Victoria, is fantasy.
“There are only pockets of land suitable for development.
“White people too have had many generations on this land and they have a great love for their land. It’s high time the law in Queensland started to respect that relationship.
“We spent five hard years and lots of money fighting Wild Rivers in court but we could have been doing other more productive things.
“We need another 10 independents in parliament to put us in a better position, given the absence of an Upper House.”