MOVES by the Federal Government to fund a ‘closed door’ World Heritage consultation will only result in further alienation of Cape York communities, Federal MP Warren Entsch warned today.
Cape York Sustainable Futures (CYSF), the peak body that represents Cape York residents, business owners, traditional owners, leaseholders and pastoralists, came out swinging last week in response to news that the government was attempting to rush through a World Heritage Listing of Cape York.
In order to get an application completed by February 2013, CYSF revealed that the Government is funding an eight-week consultation process with certain groups on the Cape a flawed process that in itself is creating further divisions within the Cape York community.
Today, Mr Entsch has given his “absolute and unconditional” support to CYSF and the other councils, organisations and residents of Cape York, describing the government’s actions as “wrong and immoral”.
“The Federal Government is using a process that is blatantly flawed how can they possibly think that something as important as World Heritage listing can be achieved through a rushed, selective consultation process?” he asked.
“All the Cape’s stakeholders need to have input into this they need to know which areas are being proposed and why, how they will be managed and what economic opportunities will be encouraged.
“They’ve already missed important deadlines, but that doesn’t mean they can try to push this through before the next election. What they are doing is illegal and we will do everything in our power to reverse it.”
Mr Entsch said CYSF’s plan to write to UNESCO, outlining why the representative organisations and councils are opposed to this process, would hold a lot of weight with the organisation.
“Community objection holds a great deal of sway with UNESCO,” he said.
Mr Entsch backed CYSF’s call for the World Heritage process to be halted until the Queensland Government completes its bioregion planning process, and until the numerous land tenure issues on the Cape are resolved.
“We cannot let this become an election issue next year, hijacked by Labor and the Greens so that Australia’s urban populations become the decision-makers on something of which they have no understanding.”