Toolbox for Sustainable Development
What is sustainable development?
Perhaps the most complete definition is development that meets the needs of the current generation without degrading the ecological inheritance of future generations.
Is this what we are seeing in our region?
Over the last few decades, there has been an onslaught on the recovering rainforest and bush in Kuranda and the wider region. Cassowaries and other endangered wildlife have been killed by loss of habitat, traffic, feral animals and domestic cats and dogs. Just recently, large numbers of paperbarks have been cut down in the centre of Mareeba to evict flying foxes.
As habitats shrink, the clashes between humans and wildlife will increase unless a more collaborative and sustainable planning approach is taken. With this vision in mind, the Kuranda Region Planning Group (KRPG) has been set up. See www.kurandaregion.org for further information. This is a network of local residents, environmental groups and wildlife experts that aim to work with government at all levels. FoE FNQ is a member of this network.
ACTION: Support KRPG's Wet Tropics World Heritage Vital Corridor Buy Back Scheme email [email protected] for further information.
Opposing environmentally destructive development
We have various options:
Engaging with the official governmental planning system at local, State or Federal level
We can put in submissions to Mareeba Shire Council about potentially environmentally destructive developments that conflict with the Mareeba Shire Planning Scheme 2016 For a list of current development applications, see https://msc.qld.gov.au/building-planning/development-applications/
If the development is still approved, we can then appeal in the Planning and Environment Court against the approval – but only if we were submitters. The Environmental Defenders' Office (EDO) offers legal advice, fact sheets and community handbooks prepared by legal experts. However court cases can be lengthy and expensive. Mediation is another option to achieve a better outcome.
Very large developments are assessed by all three layers of government – and this is the case for the mega resort KUR-World.
ACTION: Write a submission to the Coordinator General about KUR-World. Email [email protected] to find out more.
Non violent direct action
In the 50th year after Martin Luther King was killed, this remains one of the most powerful tools we have. The Daintree Blockade in the 1980s was a local example of people risking their lives to protect the rainforest. Though it failed to stop the Bloomfield track being bulldozed through, it helped to save the Daintree and kick started the listing of the Wet Tropics World Heritage Area. This inspiring local history has been chronicled in the new book The Daintree Blockade: the battle for Australia's Tropical Rainforests by Bill Wilkie.
It is well worth the read with the added bonus of name spotting local eco-heroes who still live in the area. As Bob Brown said ' The sheer energy and commitment of those campaigners on the ground- that was the core to saving the Daintree itself' As we battle mega resorts and huge subdivisions and find out how weak and woolly the planning law is in Queensland, this may be what it takes to save the Kuranda region.
Protesters buried in the path of bulldozers in efforts to stop the Daintree road.
Photo by Cliff Frith.
Next Meeting: Thursday 26 April 6.30pm via Zoom or phone link. Ring Margie on 0403214422 Everyone welcome. See website for May meeting.