Qld Labor Party gives 9.5 million acres of Cape York to Aboriginal groups then shoots more cattle
by staff writers
The Queensland Labor Party has allocated an extra $20 million for voluntary land purchase to be jointly managed by traditional owners as new national parks and Aboriginal freehold on Cape York, as part of a $38.5 million package.
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said the funding follows the recent purchase by the government of two of the state’s northernmost cattle properties – Bramwell Station and Richardson Station (adjoining leases) – to link existing national parks into a one-million-hectare protection zone (2,470,000 acres)
Local cattle producers say this vast tract of mostly inaccessible, overgrown land incorporating the former Shelburne Bay cattle station is completely unmanageable with regard to feral animals and fires and handing it over to aboriginal groups ultimately will destroy the natural environment.
The Queensland Parks Service caused a furor recently when thousands of cattle were shot on national parks and reserves.
The QPS has added more fuel to the fire by shooting many hundreds of cattle on Heathlands National Park over the past week.
The service now shoots so many stock which do not belong to them, they have employed a permanent shooter who charters helicopters for aerial shooting to kill branded and unbranded cattle.
Cairns News knows the identities of the pilots and shooters which will be published in an article, ‘Cape York Peninsula the new Aboriginal state’ in coming weeks.
Katters Australian Party Member for Hill, Shane Knuth has called out Minister Scanlon, a former Gold Coast solicitor, for killing cattle belonging to park neighbours.
Mr Knuth said the cattle were quite valuable on today’s market and were an untapped resource that could provide employment for Peninsula Aborigines by catching them on parks.
In 2021 wildfires consumed vast tracts of Heathlands national park causing permanent damage to many thousands of acres of natural herbage leaving much of the land sterile due to a lack of annual fires and detritus build-up generating intense heat.
According to local inhabitants, the fires were suspected to have been lit by Aborigines traveling through the park along the main road.
“By returning this land to traditional custodians, we can work together to conserve the significant natural and cultural treasures of Cape York,” the Premier said.
“It will also create jobs and opportunities for locals into the future.”
Environment Minister Meaghan Scanlon said more than 3.85 million hectares (9,500,000 acres) of Cape York Peninsula land has been transferred to Traditional Owners by the Cape York Peninsula Tenure Resolution Program, with another 1.5 million acres yet to be handed over.
“This is about land justice,’’ Minister Scanlon said.
“We share an ugly and uncomfortable history in this country.
“And our First Nations communities have waited generations to have their land back.”
Such disinformation is like “water on a duck’s back” to northern Australians who have seen countless cattle properties handed over to Aboriginal organisations only to find nearly every one mismanaged, stripped bare, burnt out and become non-operational in a short time.
“It is a terrible injustice,” said a Cape York cattle producer who wished to remain unidentified because of government retaliation against those who speak the truth about the degeneration of Cape York.
“These misled groups have been given back land where they will never be allowed to run cattle or have a viable commercial business-like tourism,” the producer said.
“Just look what happened at Dixie Station (350 klms to the south west of Shelbourne Bay) after it was handed back.
“It used to run 5000 breeders and employ a few ringers, now nearly all the water points have been destroyed and all infrastructure, including fences and cattle yards except the house have been burnt to the ground.
“The national parks service hates water bores and dams and now they wonder where the wildlife has gone after the water disappears.
“The Olkola Corporation will never be able to run cattle there.
“Living off carbon credits is counter-productive to indigenous people.”
Minister Scanlon said an extra $38.5 million over the next four years had been allocated to continue the CYPTR Program and to manage certain Cape York lands.
Since the Goss-led Labor Party, successive governments had united more than one million hectares of protected areas and Aboriginal land, according to Minister Scanlon.
But there remains about 400,000 hectares of national park and reserves and more than 200,000 hectares of other State land yet to be transferred.
“Last month, I announced the largest land acquisition in the Cape in more than a decade when the famous tourist resort Bramwell Station was purchased for $11.5M,” she said.
“This new funding brings us ever closer to righting the wrongs of the past.’’
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Partnerships Minister Craig Crawford said land tenure was the way forward for First Nations people on Cape York.
“This is where we can draw a line in the sand and work jointly with the traditional custodians,’’ Mr Crawford said.
Balkanu Cape York Development Executive Director Gerhardt Pearson said the CYPTR program also recognises the importance of economic development to Traditional Owners.
“Revenue is generated through activities such gravel extraction, grazing, tourism, carbon offsets contracts, and ‘fee for service’ land management activities,’’ Mr Pearson said.
“There are social, cultural, health and wellbeing benefits that flow from Traditional Owners owning and managing their homelands.”
The extra funding includes:
- $31.9 million for the continuation of the Cape York Peninsula Tenure Resolution Program including acquisition funds
- $4 million for joint management of existing 32 National Parks (Cape York Peninsula Aboriginal Land), and
- $2.6 million for the management of Springvale Station Nature Refuge, being 56,000 hectares of the former grazing property, 40 km south-west of Cooktown, purchased by the Queensland Government in 2016, (which has been a disaster in the making).
Further information on the Cape York Peninsula Tenure Resolution Program is available at https://parks.des.qld.gov.au/management/programs/joint-management-cape-york.
Further information on Springvale Nature Refuge is available at www.qld.gov.au/environment/coasts-waterways/plans/catchment-management/springvale-station.