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.
by Jim O’Toole
Tourists intending to visit the top of Cape York for the Easter holidays have been turned back by a fake news campaign emanating from the Cairns Post newspaper claiming the Tip is closed.
An islander from Bamaga, Michael Solomon, acting largely on his own according to Injinoo sources, has duped the newspaper into supporting his agenda of closing the Tip to garner state government funds to develop one of the Aboriginal freehold titles he was handed by the Department of Natural Resources in 2019.
Nearby Punsand Bay Resort owner and operator Rod Colquhoun has called out Mr Solomon for disrupting tourism and causing considerable economic loss on Cape York Peninsula including Mr Solomon’s community of Bamaga.
Mr Colquhoun said there had been hundreds of cancellations by tourists who had booked in at his camping ground and others across the Peninsula since the fake news was published.
“I ask Mr Solomon what right he has to speak for Pajinka when I have been reliably advised his grandfather is from St Pauls community of Pacific Islanders on Moa Island,” Mr Colquhoun said.
“Can he produce a certified copy of his genealogy?
“Every year I make major contributions and give my time to the local communities for school competitions, sporting events, rodeo and show.”
After determining his losses Mr Colquhoun said he would be seeking legal advice.
Cairnsnews has discovered Mr Solomon is a member of the Gudang Yadhaykenu Aboriginal Corporation which holds the Deed of Grant. This corporation is not recognised by the federal government and does not represent the traditional owners of Pajinka. A search of the Native Title register revealed the Impima Ikaya Aboriginal Corporation RNTBC (Registered Native Title Body Corporate) at Injinoo is the real native title holder of Pajinka.
The Ipima Ikaya PBC should clarify their qualifications for membership as Mr Solomon is unable to be a member of the Impima Ikaya under the Native Title Act.
Injinoo Native Title holders have said generally they do not support Mr Solomon.
The three Pajinka Aboriginal Freehold titles are held as Deed of Grant of Land under the Land Act 1994 and cannot ever be sold or leased for more than 30 years.
An examination of the aerial map(above) with the Aboriginal Freehold title boundaries marked in yellow clearly shows a gazetted road (Pajinka Rd) bisecting the three titles heading to the north ending at the base of the Tip. This road comes under the control of Torres Strait Regional Council.
The Northern Peninsula Area Regional Council based at Bamaga controls this road on behalf of the TSRC south to where it joins the NPARC boundary where the council then assumes total control of the road.
It should be noted the 50 acres or more at the actual Tip of Cape York is not legally controlled by Mr Solomon. Nor is the foreshore esplanade which is controlled by the Commonwealth Government. This can be clearly seen on the map.
Mr Solomon cannot legally prevent any visitors from going to the Tip by road or sea. Cairns News has been informed the “You are standing at the Top of Australia” sign has been removed.
The collective media has been bluffed and has not done any due diligence instead accepting the untruthful story spun by Mr Solomon and is not at all concerned about the economic and cultural consequences of its blunder.
Traditional owners from other areas of the Peninsula have warned there is a deeper agenda in place with the attempted closure of the Tip of Cape York. They are suggesting the long-term plan is to totally close down Cape York Peninsula to visitors and create an independent Aboriginal State.
Hence the ongoing Cape York Land Council Number 1 claim which seeks to tie up all unallocated land and land not already subject to native title claim across the entire Peninsula approximately north from the 16 th Parallel.
According to extensive mining exploration surveys in recent years, Cape York Peninsula has some of the largest and most valuable mineral deposits in Australia and is ripe for development, however the State reserves the right to minerals and petroleum.
Existing mining operations on the Peninsula already pay royalties to native title holders, separate to government royalties.
The Cape York Land Council has its finger prints over this latest partial closure and some TO’s believe Mr Solomon has been projected as a forward scout to take the flak. Sources said he had been in Cairns recently and no doubt he would have met with the land council.
The Northern Peninsula Area Regional Council is holding fast against a rogue traditional owner who has told the Cairns Post newspaper he will shut down Pajinka at the Tip of Cape York to tourists.
Mayor Patricia Yusia said today tourists should not listen to Michael Solomon who is claiming to be a traditional owner for Pajinka.
Nor should they take any notice of the paper claiming the Pajinka Road will be closed because “it will not happen,” said the Mayor.
“The road is open, nothing has changed and tourists are always welcome.
“The council is in charge of the Pajinka Road not Michael Solomon.”
The glaring headline on the front page of the Cairns Post claiming the gate will be locked on the Tip is more beating up and has no basis in fact because there is no gate there or at any other of the tourist hotspots mentioned in the article.
Cairns News has been told Mr Solomon is upset because the State Government had knocked back a funding application for works at the Pajinka site, hence the attack on tourists which impacts the NPARC community as a whole, not tourists or the state government.
It was just a year ago that other rogue Pajinka claimants from Sydney signed up for the sale of the Pajinka site to a Chinese company.
Federal Member for Kennedy Bob Katter raised the matter in Parliament at the time citing national security concerns and after several genuine traditional owners discovered the imminent sale it was stopped.
Bamaga sources, in a previous article in Cairns News, said that Michael Solomon was not a rightful traditional owner or claimant of Pajinka. The source said Mr Solomon is a Solomon Islander whose grandfather moved from the Pacific Islands settlement on Moa Island to the mainland.
Blackfella politics has always been part and parcel of life on Cape York Peninsula and in some cases it has become ‘dog eat dog’ over land claims and boundaries between competing groups.
Former Prime Minister Bob Hawke was a cunning operator and he knew the land rights bill he started would divide Aboriginal and Islander people forever. After Hawke was deposed by Paul Keating in 1991 the Native Title bill was enacted in 1993.
Allowing governments to patronise indigenous people by divide and conquer tactics means the government of the day stays in control of indigenous people leaving them entirely dependent on the government teat to exist.
White people too however have long been caught in this divisive net.
We ask readers to appreciate the damage being done to Far Northern tourism by The Cairns Post running fake news stories particularly after the Covid plandemic has left no option for the majority of Cairns tourist operators but to close down as soon as the federal Jobkeeper funding program finishes at the end of the month.
Where is Labor state member Cynthia Lui or Federal Liberal Member Warren Entsch?
A mooted ban on tourists visiting Cape York is a media beat-up and has little basis in fact.
It might however deter visitors and their money from assisting languishing Peninsula communities. Tourist operators already have been called about the newspaper story and they have advised callers there will be few meaningful closures.
A Cairns newspaper ran a story on Tuesday claiming ‘traditional owners’ were sick of messy tourists visiting different parts of the Peninsula leaving rubbish behind and they intended to close off popular coastal beauty spots.
A map published in the paper cites the north western beach camp of Vrilya Point which will be off limits this Easter along with Janie Creek to the south.
These once popular beach camping spots are on Rio Tinto’s mining lease and have been closed to any visitors for several years, since Rio began a drilling exploration program looking for bauxite deposits.
No Entry signs, locked gates and barbed wire fences have stopped access for 4WD’s and unless visitors can get a key from either Rio in Weipa or from the native title holders in Bamaga then no one can legally enter.
As far as restricting access to Pajinka at the Tip of the Cape, alleged traditional owners would have to prevent tourists from crossing the Jardine River on the car ferry.
It is extremely doubtful the Northern Peninsula Area Council would take such action with their ferry being the only source of income for the cash-strapped community other than local government grants.
A council spokesperson knew nothing of the newspaper article or any proposed tourist bans.
It is a bit rich for ‘traditional owners’ to blame tourists for littering. Sure some urban types who camp on rivers or at recognised, but not managed camping grounds may leave rubbish behind.
The state government has long held a MOU with traditional owners through councils to maintain camping areas and tourist haunts found on DOGIT or Aboriginal Freehold land, which covers the cost of cleaning up rubbish, usually by indigenous rangers or national park staff.
However councils seldom clean up their own or tourist rubbish as evidenced by a litany of wrecked cars and beer cans which can be seen by anyone who drives along a Peninsula road.
Traditional owners should be mindful of their own back yards before blaming visitors for littering. Visit any back street of any community and the mess can be horrifying.
Unfortunately this writer has to admit that many indigenous people are wanton litterers and ‘caring for country’ is a slick slogan engendered for terribly uninformed city slickers by the ABC and their socialist buddies.
The Cairns newspaper quoted an alleged Aboriginal traditional owner who is actually from Moa Island, the St Paul’s community of Pacific Islanders whose grandfather moved to the mainland. He is wanting to close down Pajinka at the Tip to tourists.
He is a Solomon Islander who has no right to speak for Pajinka, said a Peninsula traditional owner and confidante who has had enough of false prophets conning gullible media..
Speaking of the Pajinka ruins, it is well known to every tourist who has ever had their photo taken next to the ‘you are standing at the northern most point of the Australian continent’ sign, that the former Bush Pilots’ plush resort handed to local Aborigines over 25 years ago has been a monument to indigenous business incompatibility and indifference.
After Bushies left the resort as a going concern in the late 80’s, which had earned the company big money at the time, it took less than two years for it to collapse into disrepair.
Tourists have been disgusted with the sight of termite-infested, collapsed executive homes and accommodation units as they drive through the looted ruins to the nearby parking area at the base of the Tip.
So much so that over many years videos and photographs of the once prosperous tourist resort have been posted on Facebook and other social media tagged with derogatory commentary.
Had the local murris been smart they would have bulldozed the ruins long ago and left a neat and tidy patch of rainforest for the tourists to drool over and make kind remarks. Instead interlopers from the south tried to sell Australia’s most valuable and strategic 211 hectare freehold Pajinka site to China.
We hope this proposed closure of the Tip is not cover for a Chinese takeover.
This one example of neglect has done more to widen the gap, other than the spiralling indigenous youth crime rate, leaving the gimmick of ‘closing the gap’ floundering in the dust of the 60,000 annual visitors.
If the state government had been properly managing any of these significant tourist destinations there would have been rubbish bins and toilet blocks provided at these attractions a decade ago.
Instead all levels of government are content to leave major clean-ups of beaches and camping areas to wonderful volunteer organisations such as Tangaroa Blue which removes tens of tonnes of rubbish every couple of years from the Peninsula..
Labor MP’s are well supported by northern Peninsula and Torres Strait people yet they do precious little to save them from economic starvation and local inhabitants still cannot see the forest for the trees
It reeks of hypocrisy for the pot to call the kettle black.
from A B Salmon
LAST month, the Gudang/Yadhaykenu Aboriginal Corporation took tenure of 211 ha of land in Cape York, including the abandoned Pajinka Resort and it is reported that Chinese investors are negotiating with the Traditional Owners to purchase the land.
KAP Federal Member for Kennedy Bob Katter shares the concerns of Northern Peninsula Area Mayor, Eddie Newman, that a takeover of the resort by offshore Chinese investors would lead to a dire situation for the Traditional Owners, and would be a major national security threat for Australia.
“I have been reliably informed that Chinese buyers have visited the northern tip of Cape York on at least two occasions to inspect the abandoned resort, with a particular interest in photographing the northern rugged coastline,” Mr Katter said.
“Concerns raised by Mayor Eddie Newman are that due to no consultation there has been no safeguards for local jobs and no reassurance that the profits will actually go back into the local community.”
Options for rebuilding the resort will be discussed at the Gudang/Yadhaykenu Aboriginal Corporation’s annual general meeting tomorrow, Friday December 6.
“Why would they want the most northern point of Australia? The closest point to Papua New Guinea,” asked Mr Katter.
“There are numerous questions here and I would think the answers are pretty ugly.”
Mr Katter has taken the step of meeting with Home Affairs Minister, Peter Dutton, who has the power to block such foreign investment if it were to proceed.
“Losing control of the Torres Straits would be a national security disaster,” Mr Katter said.
“They’ve already handed over the Port of Darwin and given away the Ord in Western Australia. Almost every big cattle aggregation is foreign owned.
“The defence and security of this nation is precipitation for extreme anger in the United States and, infinitely more importantly, for every Australian who is just simply fed up with watching day after day the sell off of their country.
“The suits are parading around saying isn’t this foreign investment marvellous, but one day they’ll wake up in
a country that isn’t their own.”
The ETU, CYLC, Balkanu and Bill Gordon
The Electrical Trades Union claims it dispatched 6000 of its drones from Melbourne, Tasmania and New South Wales to converge on polling booths and towns across the state. In the electorate of Cook that stretches from the PNG border to Mareeba(60klm west of Cairns), ETU minions adorned with their red Billy Gordon(ALP) T shirts clutching ‘no sale of assets’ green signs assisted indigenous candidate and now Member for Cook Bill Gordon with his election campaign. The ETU assailed the inhabitants of the Torres Strait, Thursday Island, Bamaga and Aurukun with their presence and dominance at pre-polling centres in communities across the top of Cape York Peninsula and Torres Strait. What policy deals have been done between the ETU, Bill Gordon, the Greens and the dodgy Cape York Land Council and its business arm, Balkanu, are not yet evident.
What is evident however, in true ALP style, is that a bus load of indigenous rent-a-vote people was seen arriving at the Mareeba pre-polling centre to vote, evidently for Bill Gordon. How this crowd was able to bypass the new identification requirement of the Electoral Commission is not yet known.
The sad part of the Cape York Peninsula result is that rank-and-file Aborigines, duped by the CYLC and Balkanu believe that their plight might change with the election of CLYC puppet, Bill Gordon. Nothing could be further from the truth. When in government the ALP shut down the Peninsula with Wild Rivers and other Green ideology. The ALP and then the LNP allowed the CYLC and Balkanu to manipulate communities and their leaders, depriving them of funds intended to lift the living standards of its languishing people.
The federal government handed self-appointed indigenous leader Noel Pearson $22 million for his pet school curriculum, that none of the communities seem to want. If that was not enough the Liberals dished out a further $8 million to another of Pearson’s private companies for a training program.
Billy Gordon will be hard pressed to appease those who backed him in the election campaign. He is heavily indebted to the ETU and the union movement in general, the hopeless Greens, Cape York Land Council and Balkanu.
Robert J Lee in Cairns
Three Community Cabinet meetings, hundreds of thousands of dollars in hand-outs to sporting clubs, millions for council beautification works and Main Roads projects done on the cheap will not change the hostile community attitude towards the Member for Cook David Kempton and will not help him hold his seat.
Multi-million dollar grazing property purchases handed over to indigenous corporations, construction of useless walking and pushbike tracks and the demolition of valuable rail assets will drive the final nail into the box of the former Cooktown land rights solicitor.
Liberal Party sources say they know the writing is on the wall for their short-lived domination of the Far Northern electorate which stretches from just north of Atherton to the Papua New Guinea border.
Traditional Owners from communities across Cape York Peninsula say they are infuriated with the performance of Mr Kempton.
Likewise community leaders from southern parts of the electorate which will be the subject of a future article.
“Where are our jobs?” demanded an angry Traditional Owner from Injinoo.
Two outspoken indigenous community leaders have targeted the Liberal Party and Mr Kempton for “under the table deals” with foreign mining companies and inaction over the removal of Alcohol Management Plans that he promised before the last election.
Others are speaking out about the ‘freehold’ housing deal offered to some communities with conditions that are impossible to meet.
Self-appointed national indigenous spokesman Noel Pearson is believed to be “totally pissed off” with Kempton because of his “back door deals” between various community groups, which undercut the influence and domination by the Cape York Land Council and its business arm, Balkanu over varous community groups.
Cairns News is being careful not to specifically identify the issues that have alienated the Liberals from the CYLC and its “jobs for the boys” program, suffice to say the latest land grab over the entire Peninsula by the CYLC and its nominees has inflamed a turf war among competing groups that will be impossible to extinguish.
Another cop-out at Bamaga by the LNP and Mr Kempton will bring down the roof when it hits the national news bulletin.
Predictions by pastoralists of the 80’s and 90’s have begun to take shape as the State and Federal Governments further dispossess white pastoralists of their generational holdings and hand them over to Aborigines.
It goes without saying that abandoned indigenous cattle grazing enterprises have been the bane of the northern cattle industry and the shame of governments pandering to indigenous pressure groups who simply want to live “on country”.
Gone forever is an integral part of the Far Northern breeding herd and gone forever is proven white stewardship of the fragile Peninsula grazing environment.
Former Peninsula leaders predicted the invisible and sticky fingers of the CYLC would eventually control the entire area north of Lakeland.
The late Harvey Schwenke of ‘Strathmay Station’ and former Peninsula Cattlemans Union chairman created controversy 15 years ago when he said the Land Council would one day control the entire Peninsula.
“They will fence across the lower boundary between Lakeland and Laura, place a gate on the Peninsula Development Road and charge entry to any white people wanting to enter,” Mr Schwenke told a Cairns reporter of the time.
It is notable that ‘Strathmay Station’ was one of five large cattle properties recently handed over to an indigenous group.
Just who will replace the Liberal Party on the Peninsula is anyone’s guess but a tip from Cairns News: “Keep an eye on Katters Australian Party candidate Lee Marriott,” a Cape York Peninsula native from Lakeland.
For more information read Cairns News December 12, Entire Cape York Peninsula soon to be owned by Cape York Land Council