AgForce calls for Govt to act quickly to clarify Far North clearing claims

Beef Central, 28/11/2017

Tensions are rising over land-clearing on a cattle station in far northern Queensland, following unconfirmed reports of a bulldozer being set on fire on the property this week.

Last week ABC News reported that the owners of Wombinoo Station, south west of Cairns, had been accused of illegally logging about 60 hectares of forest in the Great Barrier Reef catchment, an area thought to be home to koalas and other endangered species.

The ABC report included drone footage and satellite images of clearing that had occurred last month, and alleged Wombinoo Station was under federal investigation for clearing land without approval.

There have been reports, unconfirmed, that a bulldozer worth close to $200,000 was destroyed by a fire on the property this week in an apparent arson attack. There have also been reports of abusive messages having been written on signs around the property. Beef Central was unable to contact the property’s owner this morning.

However AgForce released a statement this afternoon calling on the Federal and State Governments to explain what substance, if any, there is to the illegal clearing claims being made against the station.

AgForce CEO Michael Guerin said the Wombinoo Station owners maintained they had obtained all the appropriate approvals and were not under investigation by the Federal Government as alleged in media stories last week.

“AgForce does not condone any landholders deliberately engaging in any illegal activity, but nor do we condone landholders being vilified and persecuted if they have acted in accordance with the law,” he said.

“The Wilderness Society has a long history of making unsubstantiated allegations and in this case the landholder maintains they have all the relevant development approvals and the area in question is not a habitat for gliders or koalas as claimed.

“If the Federal Government is actually investigating this matter, they need to do so quickly as the public airing of unsubstantiated allegations is doing enormous damage to the owner’s business and reputation.

“It’s particularly alarming to hear today reports of arson, vandalism and abusive threats being levelled at the landholder following the media story.

“The Queensland Department of Natural Resources has said nothing publicly and they need to explain what their position is on this matter.

“With the unsubstantiated claims being made on the eve of the State Election, it looks and smells like these landholders are just being used as pawns in a political game.

“The State Government’s own data confirms the vast majority of landholders are doing the right thing, and farmers only manage vegetation on their land so they can produce food for Australian and overseas consumers.”

Mr Guerin said the use of drones to spy on farmers was an invasion of privacy and potentially illegal.

“The only reason grubby green groups are using drones to spy on farmers is to get media attention as the Department of Natural Resources already has satellites that monitor land use changes every 16 days so they know exactly what is happening and when,” he said.

“If someone is doing the wrong thing, Department officials will take the appropriate action so these extreme green groups need to butt out and let the appropriate people do their jobs.”


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  1. Paul Franks, 28/11/2017

    It was recently reported 80% of Koalas in the south east corner of Queensland have been killed by urban sprawl.

    The government initiated an inquiry a couple of years ago, it was finished and reported to government. The report never mentioned stopping urban sprawl as an option.

    Sort of puts things into perspective when it comes to politically motivated policy and how the general public react to things when it does not affect them personally.

    Imagine if the Qld state government started pulling down houses to repair previously cleared koala habitat in Brisbane. How long would the government last.

    More urban votes into driving farmers into bankruptcy.

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