Lakefield National Park contributes more reef runoff than all combined cattle properties in the catchment
The $7 million purchase of Springvale Station at Lakeland last year by the Department of Environment and Heritage Protection to prevent sediment runoff onto the Great Barrier Reef derives from incorrect data and is a waste of a viable, developed grazing property.
The adjoining property owner and former Mayor of Cook Shire, Graham Elmes said Lakefield National Park, not Springvale, according to government data was responsible for 86 per cent of sediment runoff into Princes Charlotte Bay.
A spokesman for EHS Minister Stephen Miles said Springvale “reportedly was responsible for up to 40 per cent of gully-derived sediment in the Normanby catchment, which is a significant upper catchment draining onto the northern Great Barrier Reef.
“The Queensland Government aims to manage and conserve Springvale’s significant biophysical values, and contribute to improved water quality in the Normanby River catchment by reducing sediment runoff from the property.”
In late March Mr Elmes met with EHP staff at Lakeland where he pointed out, according to a report from the Cape York Local Marine Park Authority, that 86 per cent of tested sediment levels found on the bed of Princes Charlotte Bay originated from the Bizant River system that runs through the destocked, 5370 square kilometre Lakefield National Park and not from the Normanby River catchment.
He said gravel pits and 40 kilometres of gravel road running through the Kalpowar section of the national park were major sources of soil sediment runoff.
“After every wet season the national parks have to re-sheet their gravel roads with thousands of tonnes of gravel extracted from their own open gravel pits on the park,” Mr Elmes said.
“Where do they think the runoff from the pits and all this gravel from the roads ends up after floods?
“The report says the Marrett River that runs through Kalpowar puts 19 per cent and the North Kennedy 21 per cent into the Bizant River that contributes another 46 per cent of sediment that empties into Princes Charlotte Bay.”
The report states runoff from Springvale Station and the 11 other cattle properties in the(Normanby) catchment above the coastal plains represents only nine per cent of the total sediment found on the bed of Princes Charlotte Bay.
“This nine percent of runoff is spread across 11 former or existing cattle properties including Springvale in the Normanby catchment,” Mr Elmes explained.
“If it is averaged across all 11 places then Springvale’s runoff contribution is less than one per cent.”
Section 1.3.6 of the report says: ‘…riverine delivered sediments from the upper catchment (ie sourced from above the coastal plain) only represent about nine per cent of the sediment present on the bed of Princes Charlotte Bay.’
It goes on to say: ‘It is clear that a great deal more research is required to unravel the interaction with sediment delivered to the near shore zone in Princes Charlotte Bay by tidal currents, and sediment delivered to the reef in flood plumes…’
The spokesman said the former cattle station would be destocked of cattle by October 31, 2017, when it would be declared a Nature Refuge under the Nature Conservation Act.
“The longer-term intent is to dedicate the property as a higher class of protected area as a conservation park. This process will be subject to a negotiated native title outcome through the Cape York Tenure Resolution Program,” he said.
“Implementation of a program of works to manage and reduce erosion on the property will commence in 2017.
“Research does indicate that sediment flowing into Princess Charlotte Bay comes from a range of sources including Lakefield National Park, which is a natural source.
“We know feral animals can cause soil erosion, which is why the Queensland Government has feral animal control programs in place in national parks including Lakefield.
“These activities aim to reduce the impacts of hard hoofed pests, particularly cattle and pigs that adversely impact on watercourses, and subsequently sediment erosion.”
Mr Elmes said: “The government’s own data shows they have wasted a lot of money buying this property and now they want to turn it into a conservation park, which most locals are dead against.
“It has over 4000 acres of cultivation paddocks and large dams suitable for irrigation and I don’t know where the so-called biophysical values are on the property.
“We agreed they could turn it into a nature reserve which allows cattle grazing but we do not want another huge area of wasteland which will be an enormous problem to manage.
“We will see the shire lose more of its small rate base and lose 4000 cattle from the local economy.
“When I showed staff at the meeting these are sediment figures from their own data, there was stunned silence.”
The 2013 study by the Cape York Local Marine Park Authority titled ‘An Empirically-based Sediment Budget for the Normanby Basin’ was funded by the Federal Government as a part of Caring for Our Country Reef Rescue Initiative.
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.”
Grazier challenges national park grazing deadline
A north-west Queensland grazier has decided to challenge the State Government’s refusal to extend national park grazing permits beyond 2013.
He has the political support of a local MP, who will appeal to the Queensland Premier to overrule yesterday’s decision by the Department of National Parks.
John Gilmore, of Cranford Station, near Torrens Creek, has had 500 head of cattle on the Moorrinya National Park in North Queensland since June and says the animals will die if he is forced to move them off by the end of the year.
In April this year, the Queensland Government opened up five national parks to give drought-affected graziers access to grass. The deal was that the cattle would have to be out by December 31.
However, drought conditions have prevailed, and with little rain forecast for summer, graziers wrote to the government asking for a three-month extension.
Yesterday, the government officially denied the request, saying the deadline still stands.
Mr Gilmore is devastated by the decision and won’t take no for an answer.
“Well, I can’t move them until it rains, simple as that, there’s nowhere to go.
“You can’t shift cattle at this time of the year onto strange country if it’s not green country. You’ll kill them.
“We’re not going to throw the towel in yet, I wouldn’t think, but it’s just got to rain, otherwise we can’t go anywhere. So we’ll see what happens.”
The Member for Mount Isa Rob Katter has also come out swinging.
He’ll be backing graziers like John Gilmore, and will ask the Queensland Premier to intervene.
“There’s no second option, there’s no contingency here. They either leave them on there for another month or two, just to keep these cattle alive until some rain comes, or those cattle will perish or be shot.
“We’ll be calling on the Premier to step in on this decision, because the minister has already made his decision, so we need the Premier to see the dire situation that exists.”
Meanwhile the Brisbane-based National Parks Association has come out praising the government for sticking to its guns, having the cattle removed from parks by the end of the year.
The Parks Association for 30 years has agitated for more national parks claiming 10 per cent of the state should be placed in mothballs.
This group of mostly retired, ‘closet greenies,’ outside of the South East corner, has no understanding of nature and how it works in this diversified state.
The former ALP government in its maddening haste to pacify the Greens and their loopy mob of followers, either purchased or resumed dozens of once viable cattle and sheep properties, detocked their vast paddocks and locked them up naively thinking these huge swathes of grazing land would somehow remain the same as the day they were taken out of production.
Most of these former stations have little or no conversation value, in particular the properties on which grazing has recently been allowed.
The National Park inventory should be closely scrutinised by graziers and a select body of naturalists, inspected, then any areas of high conservation value could be fenced off, returning the balance to regulated grazing.
This strategy would remove the chronic need for trained staff to manage these properties.
Fire damage would be mitigated, feral animal and noxious weed control would be undertaken by the leasees and overall this plan would save the government many millions of dollars.
Can we expect a LNP government to do this? Not on your nelly, Based on their present track record of allowing disease-ridden flying foxes to kill our kids and infest our towns, it would be a long shot.-editor