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
by Jim O’Toole
The bloodless coup by communist China taking over Darwin Port seems set to continue as Chinese nationals move onto the Tip of Cape York Peninsula.
On a second visit to the Tip this week Chinese interests were shown the ruins of Pajinka Resort, nestled on about 700 acres of mostly undeveloped land , by members of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Wymarra tribe.
Local Aboriginal elders and genuine traditional owners for the area are aghast China could buy the three Perpetual Leases should the Department of Natural Resources allow the local government authority which holds the title in trust to be transferred.
A local Islander identity assisting the delegation, has applied to have the Northern Peninsula Area Regional Council transfer the lease into his name, which, according to local Aborigines, would allow it to be on-sold to Chinese interests.
A lease in perpetuity has no expiry date which means it can be held indefinitely.
The potential Chinese buyers have been reported taking photographs of the entire area including the rugged northern coastline sparking great security concerns.
It is believed state and federal authorities too are concerned about the Chinese delegation getting their hands on such a valuable and strategic site.
The Wymarra delegation has been proposing a new resort complete with a Greg Norman-designed golf course within sight of the iconic Tip.