FEDERAL Member for Leichhardt Warren Entsch has welcomed the renewed discussions on Wild Rivers, saying he was pleased to see that the Newman government has moved quickly to fulfil their commitment to revoke the legislation.
“I also welcome their recognition that residents and landholders are key to discussions on this matter, and would reassure Wild Rivers rangers that they have nothing to be concerned about,” Mr Entsch told local media this week.
“A number of National Parks have been declared on Cape York over the years, with no management plans and little in the way of funding support to get rangers into the Parks. The fact that Wild Rivers declarations have been put aside does not mean that responsible conservation will not take place.
“This is an opportunity for those rangers trained as Wild Rivers rangers to be transferred across to fill the void in the National Parks where for many years there has been no management underway. There will also be opportunities for existing rangers to progress and for many more new rangers to be trained up, so it’s potentially very positive.”
Mr Entsch said the Bioregion Management Plan was a far more practical way of delivering effective management for the region and guaranteed that land owners both traditional and the broader community were going to be part of the interaction.
“For too long the Labor government has been a slave to the Wilderness Society and the Greens, while the community has been left out of the process,” he commented.
“In regards to the World Heritage listing, I welcome Tony Burke’s comments at the World Heritage symposium that there will not be a blanket listing, although I think it’s quite appropriate that areas like the McIlwraith Ranges and Shelburne Bay are considered.
Stunning coastline along the northernmost point of Cape York
“I also welcome moves towards consultation with indigenous groups but I would expect that this consultation would also take place with all Cape York residents and community groups. It’s disappointing that already we see one of the peak representative groups of Cape York Cape York Sustainable Futures (CYSF) being excluded from discussions. Mr Burke still has a lot to learn.”
Mr Entsch added that given the angst that was caused by the “undue influence” of the Wilderness Society, he would hope they are kept on the outer, particularly in regard to any future consultation.
“There needs to be a sense of ownership by the local community, and their valuable contributions must be recognised. It’s important that we don’t see the same level of divisiveness and destruction that we have seen result from the World Heritage listing of the Daintree we should be learning lessons from that.”