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Northern Development dead in the water as the Labor Party halts land clearing for farming

from Robert J Lee, Cairns bureau

The Malthusians of the World Wildlife Fund and the Australian Conservation Foundation got the Cairns Post into hot water on Saturday Nov 7, when the Murdoch tabloid published their untruthful and misleading media release about land clearing.

Olive Vale station at Laura was granted a permit to clear 31,800 ha by the former LNP State Government but the WWF in usual form, churned out misleading information in an effort to halt any development in the north.

Warren Entsch

Local federal Liberal member Warren Entsch has been severely embarrassed by the publication of the falsified information that the journalist admitted was not checked for fact.

However to his credit he has come out swinging at the greenie “clowns” and his own government.

kimberley-vlasic

Kimberley Vlasic

It would have been an easy exercise for the journalist to simply read previous articles held on file in the Cairns Post newsroom.

Not so the Murdoch media and in shades of the ABC, it simply regurgitates the dishonest crap put out by the multitude of Cairns greenie groups, particularly anything that mentions the Great Barrier Reef.

The offending article elicited a stinging rebuke from owner of Olive Vale station, Paul Ryan.

Below is Mr Ryan’s response to Cairns Post journalist Kimberley Vlasic:

Facts

“Approval is to clear 31,800 ha , not the 35,000 ha stated by Andrew Picone of ACF”.

To date less than 2000 ha has been cleared (confirmed by federal and state departments) not the bullshit comment of 5000 ha from Andrew Picone.

Clearing works stopped 10th June 2015 ,works then began on preparing cleared land for planting of Sorghum this coming wet season.

Andrew Picone

Andrew Picone of the Australian Conservation Foundation, a Malthusian, caught out sending misleading and dishonest media releases to the Cairns Post about lawful land clearing.

At no time has Olive Vale been formally notified to stop clearing by any government department .Current cessation of clearing is voluntary.

Olive Vale has met all legal requirements of project DA approval.

Approximately 500 ha to be planted with sorghum this wet season.

Queensland Department of Agriculture will be running a trail cropping program within the Olive Vale project area.

On 2nd July 2015 Olive vale and Koolburra stations were granted an approved generic SMP (species management plan ) for all clearing operations excluding Olive Vale farming project.

10th August 2015 Olive Vale submitted to EHP (State Department of Environment) a draft project specific SMP .

9th September EHP responded with request for changes to SMP

Olive Vale has been working through requested changes and will resubmit an up dated SMP by end of November.

The publishing of miss leading information in regards to the Olive Vale project affects the ability to obtain project specific external funding.

All current works to date have been funded directly by the owners of Olive Vale station.

The people affect the most by this project are the residents of Laura, Olive Vale is the largest employer within the Laura area.

I receive phone calls daily from locals looking for work .

Has anyone ask these local residents of Laura (Traditional owners) what their opinion is.

Olive Vale Pastoral operations within Cape York directly employs 20 staff ,with indigenous staff making up 40%.

A further 4 North Queensland based contractors are used to fill specific skill requirements.

If clearing was to proceed these numbers would double within 6 months.

All current indigenous employees have been signed up for apprenticeships (traineeship) in machinery operation.

These qualified staff will then be available as trainers for the employment of local residents that are currently not qualified.

How many people are directly employed by ACF or the Wilderness Society within Cape York and more specifically in the Laura area?

No representative from ACF or The Wilderness Society has ever contacted Olive Vale pastoral in regards to our operations.”

The Cairns Post, in a half-hearted retraction in its November 10 issue, tried to smooth over the irresponsible greenie claptrap.

In an email to Mr Ryan , journalist Kimberley Vlasic apologised for not contacting Mr Ryan to get the facts. No apology appeared in the Nov 10 story.

The article tries to sidestep its previous misinformation instead shifting the blame onto Warren Entsch and the Liberal Government, when in fact the impasse over approvals for the clearing lies directly with the State Government and Deputy Premier Jackie Trad, who has refused to pass on the necessary information to the federal government.

The Liberal’s much-heralded Northern Development is indeed a misnomer and a lot of Asian corporations have been misled about getting involved in agriculture by the state and federal governments.

A theory of the few remaining white pastoralists on Cape York Peninsula has become closer to reality as any development is stopped by governments pandering to greenies and the indigenous Cape York Land Council.

Not very secret plans to create an indigenous state of Far North Queensland are gradually taking shape as the theory of white de-population eventuates.

Graziers claim the banks, in collusion with the State Government( both the previous LNP and now ALP governments) and the Cape York Land Council and have begun their campaign of asset-stripping large pastoral properties as banks unlawfully foreclose on three of the largest remaining white-owned cattle producers on the Peninsula without so much as a peep from either political party.

At least one Aurukun ‘white’ Aborigine sits on the sidelines trying to wrest a large property from bank receivers at an offer that is one tenth of market value.

In the last three years 1.5 million hectares of dispossessed white-owned cattle properties have been acquired by the State Government and handed over to Aborigines free of charge.

Approximately 60 per cent of the Aboriginal freehold property on Cape York Peninsula has a conservation zoning of some description placed over it that precludes cattle grazing.

Peninsula hoteliers and businesses say they feel threatened by underlying simmering tensions and in some cases direct threats made by hostile black elements throughout the Peninsula.

The hoax of Northern Development that includes Cape York Peninsula came home to roost when in August the State Government negotiated an Indigenous Land Use Agreement that handed over control of the Peninsula Development Road to the CYLC.

The PDR is the only land access to vital defence installations in the Far North.

Traditional Owners support Olive Vale clearing

An inspection of vegetation clearing at Olive Vale station by officers from the Federal Environment Department was concluded today, but no official outcome has yet been given.

On Wednesday departmental officers spent most of the day flying over the station in a chartered helicopter.

olive vale station - 2

Officers from the Department of Environment look over the cleared vegetation in a chartered helicopter spaying kerosene exhaust over the vegetation

Owner of the Laura grazing property Paul Ryan said he was quietly confident the inspectors had not found any major issues, “…because we have been totally compliant with the permit conditions,” he said.

JackieTrad Labor Deputy Premier Queensland

A very GREEN Labor Party Deputy Premier Jackie Trad MP

Unsubstantiated accusations and claims of habitat and vegetation destruction were made last week by Deputy Premier Jackie Trad in State Parliament, who, according to Mr Ryan, had never visited the property.

A permit to clear vegetation for high value agriculture was granted on January 20, 2015, during the ‘caretaker’ mode prior to an imminent election which Ms Trad conceded was quite lawful as the original application had been made in the mid-term of the previous government which had requested two extensions of time.

In a Ministerial statement Ms Trad told Parliament the clearing of 32,000 hectares was approved for the purpose of high-value agriculture and included a crop, upland rice, which is not currently grown commercially in Queensland.

“As part of this review, my acting director-general sought independent advice on three specific matters,” she said.

“First, advice was sought from Crown Law about the application of the conventions of caretaker government.

“This advice confirms that the caretaker conventions were not contravened. “Second, advice was sought from Mr Greg Vann, a Life Fellow of the Planning Institute of Australia, about the decision-making process associated with the development approval, taking into account the requirements of the Sustainable Planning Act and associated policies and guidelines.

“Mr Vann concluded that the application was processed and decided in accordance with the relevant procedural requirements”. She said the department received conflicting advice from Mr Bill Thompson of Land Resource and Assessment Management Pty Ltd about the decision-making process associated with the determination that the proposed clearing was for a relevant purpose—in this case, high-value agriculture under section 22A of the Vegetation Management Act.

“Mr Thompson has advised that the correct decision from the assessment process should have been that the purpose of the clearing could not have been high-value agriculture”.

Amid interjections from LNP Members Ms Trad warned the Opposition, “… these are contraventions of the laws implemented by those opposite. Right now, the bulldozers are already clear-felling at Olive Vale, destroying habitat and vegetation that should be preserved”.

A Traditional Owner, Elder and stockman from Laura, Mr Joseph Lee Cheu said the land being cleared had little use in its present form.

olive vale station - Joseph Lee Cheu and Paul Ryan

Laura Traditional Owner Joseph Lee Cheu is pleased with the clearing at Olive Vale station after a visit to the area with owner Paul Ryan.

“We want the jobs that this farming project will provide and we have no opposition to the clearing and it won’t harm the environment,” said Mr Lee Cheu.

“There are millions of acres of similar land on the Peninsula in reserves and other properties. “Most Traditional Owners support the clearing here, and farming is much better than mining”.

Olive Vale station is the Laura district’s largest employer with an annual payroll of $1 million, directly benefitting the Laura, Cooktown and Hopevale communities.

“Our indigenous workforce and payroll will double in six months as we begin farming operations,” Mr Ryan said.

“We have begun a school-based apprenticeship scheme with Cooktown High School and a student will start a diesel-fitting course here later this year”.

The Deputy Premier told Parliament now that the former LNP government had approved the clearing, there was limited opportunity for the government to stop it.

“For that reason, today I have written to the federal environment minister, Greg Hunt, under section 69 of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act,” Ms Trad said.

“If Mr Hunt determines that the clearing now under way is a controlled action, then the Commonwealth has the power to seek a Federal Court injunction to stop the bulldozers”.

She said she would be working with the Natural Resources Minister to change Vegetation Management laws to prevent any more development of “high value” farmland.

olive vale station - Paul Ryan - Peter Spies - Joseph Lee Cheu

Olive Vale owner Paul Ryan, Land Resources consultant Peter Spies and Traditional Owner Joseph Lee Cheu say the clearing has been done according to the permit conditions

Land Resource consultant Peter Spies said he had been undertaking ongoing soil analyses of the area to be cleared and found the soils to be suitable for sorghum, dryland rice and pulses with the potential for irrigation. Although the green element pushed the loss of species and habitat line, Mr Spies said the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry was excited about the proposal.

“We will be doing crop varietal trials for forage sorghum and baling it for forage will help drought proof the property and provide a ready source of feed for other properties in dry times,” Mr Spies said.

“There is the potential for feed lotting and having a live export depot for the port at Weipa, which would be dependent on the upgrading of the Peninsula Development Road.

“There are no threatened animal or plant species and we have developed species recovery plans by mapping all likely habitats.

“There is no threat whatsoever to the reef because there will be much less runoff from the almost level farmland than in its natural state”.

billy-cook-mp

“NO COMMENT” Billy Cook Independent MP and local member

The Member for Cook, Billy Gordon has refused to comment about the land clearing.