Category Archives: Torres Strait
Always follow the money and the truth comes out in UN ruling for submerged Islanders
Letter to the Editor
Last week the UN found Australia ‘guilty’ of having violated the human rights of Torres Strait Islanders, due to climate inaction.
The Human Rights committee said Australia had violated two of their three human rights set out in a UN treaty, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (1966) — the right to enjoy their culture and be free from arbitrary interferences with their private life, family and home — but not their right to life.
The UN’ Human Rights Committee ruled that Australia had failed to take adequate action to cut emissions or adopt adaptation measures to protect the islands. It also said the country should “compensate the Islanders for harm suffered, … and TAKE MEASURES TO CONTINUE TO SECURE THE COMMUNITIES’ SAFE EXISTENCE”.
The Torres Strait Islanders were represented by the wealthy UK environmental group, ‘ClientEarth’, funded by wealthy billionaire Winsome McIntosh, of the A&T supermarket chain.
The Torres Strait Islanders’ case was the first climate change litigation brought by inhabitants of low-lying islands against a nation state.
As ClientEarth lawyer, Sophie Marjanac, commented:
“This case opens the door for further legal actions and compensation claims by other climate affected people, and will give hope to those fighting for loss and damage at this year’s international climate talks in Egypt”.
However, those “climate affected people” should think twice about taking advantage of the ‘landmark’ ruling.
It is little more than a ‘stalking horse’ for rich nations to use a ‘human rights argument’ justifying the declaration of a state of emergency over small islands and the forced relocation of their populations.
The 3rd National Climate Assessment states: “As sea level raises faster and coastal storms, erosion, and inundation cause more frequent or widespread threats, relocation (also called managed retreat or realignment), … will become a more pressing option”.
A 2021 paper by “Young Australians in International Affairs” is just one of many published the last few years calling for first world states to pro-actively assist in moving the Islands’ “affected populations”.
The UN’s Torres Strait ruling provides the perfect legal basis for them to do so.
After all, it instructs Australia to “take measures to continue to secure the communities’ safe existence”.
It will start gradually with the relocation of people from small, low lying coral atolls, most subject to sand erosion and king tides, but it won’t end there.
Eventually, ALL small and remote islands will be designated “at risk” from climate change.
That’s why Islanders everywhere, need to be very, very careful how they respond when these slick-talking, wealthy European NGOs come knocking at their door.
They might say they want to help but believe me, their idea of “helping” masks a different agenda altogether.
One that ends with the loss of the Islanders’ homeland, way of life, culture and heritage.
from No Climate Change
A sad ending for Cape York Peninsula
In response to queries made last year about shooting valuable cattle on Cape York Peninsula the letter(below) was recently received by Member for Traeger Robbie Katter from Environment Minister Meaghan Scanlon, a former Gold Coast solicitor.
Property owners asked the National Parks Service on what lawful basis did they shoot cattle running on unfenced national parks near their properties many of which are jointly managed with Aboriginal corporations.
At common law pastoralists can claim ownership of any cattle found on parts of the Peninsula. This stock simply did not appear from nowhere. Branded and unbranded cattle are the lawful chattels of pastoralists particularly after the entire Peninsula was officially declared stock free by the state government after a massive shoot out under the BTEC scheme completed in 1989. Pastoralists re-stocked their properties after the shootout. Only the Indigenous Land Corporation based in Canberra and pastoralists can lawfully claim cattle on Cape York today.
Unless pastoralists individually contracted with the NPWS allowing them to seize their stock, they cannot be lawfully killed.
The ILC controls several properties on the Peninsula which have been so poorly managed from afar the company is destocking these places and handing the land back to local Aborigines after the taxpayer spent many tens of millions of dollars buying these once viable cattle stations.
Local producers have slammed the ILC as a ‘bungling bureaucracy’ with no ability to manage these vast stations.
“They are destocking the Peninsula making way for a whopping big World Heritage wilderness zone to be jointly managed by NPWS and Aborigines,” said a pastoralist.
Permits and fees will be required from tourists or any others wanting access to places of interest on the vast Peninsula . The only access will be via the Peninsula Development Road. All tracks other than those servicing local communities will be closed to the public.
There are few pastoralists left on the Peninsula after the socialist state government whittled away private ownership over the past 25 years ostensibly handing properties to Aboriginal groups. Under Aboriginal freehold title these unfortunate Prescribed Body Corporations were conned by the Labor Party into believing they could again run stock and train their children to manage cattle.
The cruel Labor and Green bureaucrats dissected their new titles so intensively with environmental overlays and nature reserves there was insufficient land remaining on which to run cattle.
Instead they were left with more than half the land area of the 289,000 square klm Peninsula which they cannot utilise for any meaningful commercial pursuit. This vast area is home for an estimated one million feral pigs and many thousands of wild dogs.
On average 100,000 tourist vehicles visit the Cape every dry season. The Olkola Aboriginal Corporation based at former Dixie Station has the opportunity to introduce environmental tourism but were given little startup funding. Some rangers were allocated with federal funding however tourism hasn’t got off the ground in any meaningful way leaving the PBC to survive on limited government and private sponsorship and carbon credits.
This is the reply from the Minister received by MP Robbie Katter.
* Cattle are managed in accordance with Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service (s ) Operational Policy for the Removal and disposal of stock on QPWS Protected Areas (Nature Conservation Act 1992).
* QPWS has been progressing a stock removal program from National Parks (Cape York Peninsula Aboriginal Land (CYPAL)) since 2013.
* Neighbours were provided with the opportunity to claim any cattle remaining on CYPAL and were issued permits to remove their cattle during October to November 2018.
* Cattle remaining on CYPAL after prescribed dates are considered abandoned seized property and can be dealt with by the Chief Executive in line with the policy.
* Should it be required the final phase of all cattle management strategies is the humane destruction of any residual feral cattle to prevent them from building up numbers within the park.
* For CYPAL this humane control of cattle commenced in 2020 with the annual feral animal program enabling the targeting of cattle in addition to the other species routinely being managed – being pigs, cats and horses.
* Neighbours are advised of QPWS operations prior to commencement of aerial shoots.
* Neighbours are still able to access stock muster permits to retrieve their cattle from CYPAL should stock stray onto national park when fences are damaged.
* This policy was implemented in 2014 and formally recognises cattle as a pest on national parks, and enables a stepped out transparent and fair process to all neighbours to retrieve their stock from national parks while supporting the conservation values the lands are protected for.
* Individual cattle management strategies have been successfully implemented by QPWS&P on a number of jointly managed national parks (CYPAL) as well as elsewhere in Queensland.
* Following a number of neighbouring property stock relinquishments (to the State to enable control) on the park, QPWS also seized cattle on Oyala Thumotang National Park (CYPAL) in August 2018 as part of the agreed cattle management strategy.
Chief of Staff
Office of the Hon. Meaghan Scanlon MP
Minister for Environment and the Great Barrier Reef
Torres Strait news
A sacked employee of the Department of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Partnerships is seeking compensation from the department for kicking her out of a state government- owned home on Thursday Island.
Ms Luisa O’Connor and her partner Milton Savage had been living in the home on Thursday Island since 2007.
She is seeking compensation through the Supreme Court in Cairns for being forcibly evicted from her home of 14 years.
According to court documents Ms O’Connor was dismissed from her position in DATSIP due to a conflict of interest, misconduct and financial impropriety. In April she lost a subsequent Industrial Relations Commission appeal to be reinstated.
“Luisa is not entitled to any compensation because she does not come from here. She is a Fiji national and the Immigration Department has just taken her passport,” a Horn Island elder told Cairns News.
“She has been using departmental money to pay her partner for questionable work like back to country ceremonies and we believe she has ripped everybody off.
“Her partner Milton has a long history of court appearances for domestic violence over the years and he is no asset to her.”
Claims by the plaintiff Luisa O’Connor that she is a descendant of the Kaurareg people of the Torres Strait have been disputed by Kaurareg elders.
“Kaurareg Aboriginal elders are the largest land owners in the Torres Strait and we do not recognise this woman as Aboriginal Kaurareg,” the elder said.
“She is a fraud and the department did the right thing by taking their house back.
“They should be starting criminal charges against her for misappropriation of money.
“Kaurareg elders from Horn Island rejected Luisa’s request to support her claim for compensation after she was evicted from the house on TI.”
The elder said the O’Connor case was just the “tip of the iceberg” when it came to fraud and financial misappropriation in the Torres Strait.
“There are many others the various departments turn a blind eye on.” – contributed
Double whammy for Far Northern tourist resorts
Not to be outdone by illegitimate Traditional Owners and the Cairns Post newspaper, Far Northern tourist operators have been trumped by the Northern Peninsula Area Regional Council which has removed the car ferry from the Jardine River for maintenance.
Now in dry dock the only land link between the Top of Queensland and the Peninsula Development Road to the south is gone until April 26.
Holidaymakers who made bookings for the caravan parks and resorts north of the Jardine River have been forced to cancel causing struggling tourist operators to lose significant income desperately needed after last year’s unnecessary Covid disaster.
Popular tourist camping grounds such as Loyalty Beach, Seisia Camping Ground, Bamaga Resort and Punsand Bay resort will have to lay off staff.
Punsand Bay resort operator Rod Colquhoun said he has lost the remaining 100 bookings he had saved after assuring tourists the Tip was not closed following scurrilous reporting by the Cairns Post newspaper a week ago claiming the gates were closed to the Tip of Cape York.
“Apart from the fact there are no gates anywhere, the Tip could not be closed unless the council did it,” Mr Colquhoun said.
“I have just employed staff for an expected busy Easter. I have now sought legal advice to claim compensation for lost income.
“The council could have done maintenance on the ferry after the Easter holidays which would not have affected tourism and not caused a loss of income for the service stations, grocery shops, the pub, the baker and all the tourist operators.”
Thursday Island tourism and the island ferry operator would also suffer significant losses as the Easter break is the start of the tourist season.
NPARC Mayor Patricia Yusia said the council’s hands were tied because the car ferry had exceeded regulated hours for maintenance and did not meet safety standards.