1. What policies would you support to help protect the exceptional biodiversity within Mareeba Shire – and in particular protection of biodiversity in the Kuranda Region (Kuranda - Speewah – Koah)?
2. Do you believe that protecting and enhancing the remaining natural environment is important for tourism, clean water for domestic and agricultural use and for future-proofing our shire?
3. How do you think the shire could address extreme weather events that are linked to climate change such as droughts, cyclones, fires, etc.?
4. Do you think it's important to reduce carbon emissions in the shire, as a way of contributing to global reductions -and how could this be done? (e.g. building regulations for eco-friendly, tropical architecture that reduces/ avoids the use of air conditioning)
Water & Health & Safety
5. a) Do you think council should act to reduce soil and chemical run-off into the Shire’s waterways from both council-controlled land as well as private property and agricultural areas?
b) If so, what measures would you support? e.g. creating a Barron River Catchment Improvement trust to facilitate re-vegetation; local planning laws requiring adequate protected riparian zones; stopping aerial spraying?
6. What would you do as a councillor to support water security across the Shire e.g. council measures to increase uptake of rain water tanks in both town and rural areas; drought proofed public and private gardens (fewer lawns and more native trees)?
7. Neither Mareeba nor Kuranda’s water supply are filtered to remove pesticides and Giardia and Cryptosporidia. Do you think council should inform ratepayers of this risk so each household to decide what level of remediation they can arrange and afford?
8. a) In light of the linking of glyphosate (Round-up) with cancers such as lymphoma, do you support chemical free methods of removing weeds from children's playgrounds and surrounding parklands?b) Until this occurs, would you support the labelling and dating of any use of herbicides or other chemical in playgrounds so these areas can be avoided- and ensuring that council workers applying the herbicides are taking all precautions to protect themselves- and the public- from unnecessary exposure?
Development, Industry & Jobs
9. a) How would you help the Shire’s agricultural sector transition toward a more sustainable, water-efficient, and resilient production standard?
b) Do you think that Council has a role in encouraging the sharing of expertise about regenerative agriculture1 in the Shire e.g. via workshops?
10. What are your thoughts on prioritising new economic opportunities (like Nature Tourism) that depend on healthy, intact and extensive areas of environmental value?
11. Are you interested in learning more about new, innovative industries such as the emerging Industrial Hemp industry in FNQ? Do you support developing local processing and ‘value-add’ industries creating local jobs?
12. a) What policies would you support to reduce and /or recycle waste?
b) Do you think that the circular economy2 concept should guide council policy? (This might function on a local level by, for example, local recycling of e.g. plastics, glass & building materials as job-producing industries)
13. Would you undertake to undo the Chief Executive Officer's delegated authority power in regards to code-assessable development applications, and insist that all the elected Councillors should be responsible for these decisions?
14. If elected would you support restoring the two week period of consultation between release of Council Agenda and Council Meeting for both councillors and public?
15. What are the three most important things you hope to achieve if elected?
16. Are you a member or supporter of any political party- and have you ever been?
17. a) Do you intend to reply in a timely manner to emails and communications that are sent to you by concerned residents?
b) Do you have any commitments that might limit your capacity to do so?
c) How would you make yourself accessible to residents wanting to meet you and discuss issues after being elected?
18. a) How would you balance your obligation to represent the large voting bloc in Mareeba with giving proper regard to the views of small outlying communities?
b) Do you think that divisions would be a good way to ensure such representation in the future?
1 Regenerative agriculture is a conservation and rehabilitation approach to food and farming systems. It focuses on topsoil regeneration, increasing biodiversity, improving the water cycle, enhancing ecosystem services, supporting biosequestration, increasing resilience to climate change, and strengthening the health and vitality of farm soil
2 A circular economy is an economic system aimed at eliminating waste and the continual use of resources. Circular systems employ reuse, sharing, repair, refurbishment, re-manufacturing and recycling to create a close-loop system, minimising the use of resource inputs and the creation of waste, pollution and carbon emissions.
Our local Council will shortly make a decision about two proposed subdivisions on Barnwell Road ‐ one of 179 lots and the other containing 47 lots. Collectively these constitute a 226‐lot Myola ‘suburb’ which dwarfs all land subdivisions in the Kuranda region – in the middle of a cassowary corridor. The larger of these proposals is on the contentious KUR‐World site and the developer’s intentions remain ambiguous.
At last month’s Council meeting councillors agreed to a 2‐month extension for applicants to provide previously requested information. There are innumerable grounds on which both state & local development applications can & should be refused.
kuranda range road
Perhaps the headline story of The Cairns Post on 01 July (“Far North resort idea KUR‐unched”) is a prelude ‐ the article suggests that the Department of Transport & Main Roads doesn’t support the KUR‐World submission due to increased traffic on Kuranda Range Road. The FNQ Regional Plan 2009‐31 acknowledges that “proposed urban development at Myola could not be accommodated by the existing Kuranda Range Road and the cost of upgrading the Kuranda Range Road between Cairns and the northern Tablelands is unaffordable . . .”. The same conditions apply to the proposed subdivisions.
At last month’s Council meeting an agreed update of the planning scheme’s Environmental Significance overlay was postponed until 2020‐21. Delaying environmental protection of ecologically sensitive areas may lead to increased development and further environmental degradation. Australia is experiencing substantial decline of habitat, flora & fauna ‐ we now lead the world in mammal extinctions. With 34 threatened species of flora & fauna on the KUR‐World site, the proposed Myola ‘suburb’ continues the pattern of destructive development.
According to various national & state guidelines, creeks adjacent to developments in environmentally sensitive areas require protection in the form of a buffer of native vegetation on both sides. The larger subdivision application indicates creek buffers which fall short of minimum recommendations and should alone be grounds for refusing the application.
These proposals were submitted under the now superseded Planning Scheme (2005‐16) which was based on a proposed urban expansion in the Myola Valley and associated upgrade to the Kuranda Range road – both of which didn’t proceed. A revised Planning Scheme was delayed due to Council de‐amalgamation (2012‐14) and the so‐called Myola Plan was redundant at the time of the subdivision applications. The current Planning Scheme (from 01 July 2016) stresses the importance of maintaining the scale of Rural Villages such as Myola ‐ "any growth within rural villages is limited and is proportionate to their current scale”. The Barnwell Road properties are located within a long‐established Rural Zone ‐ clearly, the proposed subdivisions are incompatible with current policies. Let’s not allow the short‐sighted aims of property developers to make a mockery of our community‐based systems of infrastructure management and planning controls.
Email or ring Cameron Dick, Minister for State Development, Manufacturing, Infrastructure & Planning (07 3719 7200 / [email protected]) and request that he call‐in these development applications immediately ‐ click here for more details.
In early October, yet another science report was released by the World’s leading climate body, the IPCC, confirming that climate change is well underway, and that under current estimates warming will reach 1.5 degrees in the next few decades.
An increase of 1.5 degrees Celsius will make the climate much more unstable; bigger storms and cyclones, harsher droughts and heat waves.
However, 2.0 degrees hotter is much, much worse and would cause very serious social, economic, and environmental problems. Destruction of coral reefs, rising sea levels, collapsing food supplies are all real and happening now.
Limiting warming to 1.5 degrees would require a complete reduction of greenhouse gasses to zero by 2050 or sooner.
But we all know this – scientists have been telling us with increasing alarm for decades that the planet is getting cooked – and we, its inhabitants, are facing a very uncertain and unstable future. The IPCC report is optimistic that governments across the world will see the light and quickly move to phase out fossil fuels and start planning to adapt to the uncertain future.
Unfortunately, this optimism seems misguided. The Paris Climate Agreement signed in 2016 will not limit global warming to 1.5 degrees – actually it will do very little because the commitments are too weak and the United States has run away.
Most governments and industry either don’t care or far worse are staging a huge deception campaign to undermine climate science, and any real efforts to limit greenhouse emissions.
The public has been duped by the likes of the coal and oil industry, by their slick marketing companies, and by dodgy scientists and lobby groups funded by these interests. For example, Tony Abbott and his colleagues have happily pushed the coal industry’s agenda, undermining energy reform and dumping real climate action.
These people and the industries they support are a minority, holding humanity to ransom for their own political or financial gain. Let’s stop being hoodwinked by big industry and demand immediate and far reaching action to reduce greenhouse emissions to zero.
ACTION:To move Australia beyond fossil fuels, the climate movement must grow to an unprecedented scale and size. Join FoE Australia's Tipping Point team of national volunteers: email [email protected] to find out more.
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.
Our Kuranda property was recently sprayed with the herbicide Roundup by Council workers without our authorisation. Our property adjoins Jumrum Creek which ultimately flows to the Great Barrier Reef via the Barron River. Due to the ecological sensitivity of our property and region, we initiated a formal complaint through the Queensland Ombudsman. Mareeba Shire Council’s actions and subsequent dismissive response reveals a common belief that Roundup is innocuous. While this complacency has been fostered through decades of aggressive marketing by agrochemical company Monsanto, there is mounting research suggesting Roundup is toxic not only to the environment, but to human health.
In 2015, the International Agency for Research on Cancer classified Roundup’s declared principle ingredient ‘glyphosate’ as "probably carcinogenic to humans". The European Chemicals Agency has classified it “a substance causing serious eye damage and being toxic to aquatic life with long-lasting effects". After bitter division in 2017 the European Union approved a limited 5-year licence for glyphosate, with France declaring a ban within 3 years. Currently, more than 700 US farmers, landscapers & gardeners are involved in a lawsuit against Monsanto claiming that exposure to glyphosate caused their cancers.Read more
- A local council that understands the special nature of the Kuranda region, is as open to environmentalists as developers and listens to the residents' concerns. A State Government inquiry into alternative local government arrangements for the Kuranda Region would be a great start. Alternatives to be investigated could include (a) merging the Kuranda Region with Douglas Shire and (b) creating a new Kuranda Region Council, separate from Mareeba Shire.
- Sustainable planning and land clearing laws that are enforced with adequate monitoring. These should protect old growth and recovering forest - and stop our communities and wildlife being threatened by mega developments such as KUR-World and Adani.
Mareeba Council Fails Kuranda Community Again
At the July 2017 council meeting, it took just nine minutes for council to pass more than four motions, two of which allowed assessment of high density, rural residential developments in an environmentally fragile area (Myola Valley, Kuranda) under the old, 2004- and now superseded planning scheme.
The high density. rural residential development applications are for the Kuranda vets' land (subdivision into approximately 48 blocks of around 2 acres in size) and the Barnwell road property (site of the ambitious and possibly fictional KUR-World project) of 176 blocks also of around 2 acres each.
These subdivisions would not be deemed appropriate according to the Mareeba Shire Council 2016 plan, the FNQ2031 plan and the State Planning mapping (Matters of Environmental significance). Hence this extraordinary tactic of trying to have the developments assessed under the old plan, which was rejected a decade ago by the Kuranda community and eventually by the State Government.
Posted by· October 18, 2018 9:57 AM
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