There has been much talk about the performance of the major political parties in the Queensland Election. I am now going to shift the spotlight onto the criminal activity carried out by the Wilderness Society.
On the 23rd of November, just two days before Queenslanders went to the polls, the ABC broadcast a story in its 7PM national news which was supplied to them by the Wilderness Society. They did this without checking the facts.
The story alleged one of Far North Queensland’s most well respected families, the Jonsson’s – who are fifth generation farmers – illegally logged 60 hectares of forest on their Wombinoo Station, possibly killing endangered species including koalas, and that they were the subject of a Federal Government investigation for illegal clearing.
Since that ABC broadcast, the Jonsson’s have been the victim of an arson attack where one of their $160,000 bulldozers was set on fire and burned out, they’ve had graffiti sprayed on a gate labelling them koala killers, they’ve received numerous threats and hate mail, and their business has suffered.
The facts are; the Jonsson’s were given state and federal government approvals and permits to clear their land in 2015, and I have received confirmation from Federal Environment Minister, Josh Fydenberg that;
– Allegations of illegal land clearing, made against the Jonsson’s by the Wilderness Society and reported by the ABC on 23 November 2017, were looked at by his department and dismissed as unfounded.
– The Jonsson family are complying with their obligations under federal environmental law and a proposal for future clearing is being assessed by the department.
The clearing in question occurred three years ago and the family subsequently planted 2,000 avocado trees, which are well advanced.
About three months ago, the Jonsson’s made the decision to burn the remnant windrows, which is normal farming practice. It’s assumed the smoke attracted the attention of the Wilderness Society and a campaigner was sent to illegally enter the property and take drone footage of the area.
The Wilderness Society then sat on that footage for three months before releasing it to the ABC activist who poses as a journalist, Mr George Roberts.
George Roberts is a piece of work. He last came to prominence in 2014 when he fabricated a story about unauthorised boat arrivals having their hands tortured and burnt by members of the ADF. He was exposed at the time as an absolute fraud and the story was a total fabrication.
Unfortunately his ABC editors in Brisbane made no effort to check the veracity of the story and it was released nationally.
The Wilderness Society constantly use iconic symbols like koalas and the Great Barrier Reef to justify their activism and stop development, even though there is absolutely no basis of fact in their statements.
There are no koalas or any evidence of koalas ever existing on Wombinoo Station and this has been confirmed following a total of four independent and federal environmental inspections.
The Jonsson family employ 70 people at their farm market store in Cairns, and an extra 30 people when seasonal work is available for picking and packaging of their produce.
They have won numerous awards for farming, and currently have four environmental production trials taking place on their properties in conjunction with the Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries.
Warren Jonsson, the innovative owner of Wombinoo Station, is also on the Tablelands Regional Councils Irrigation and Economic Development Committees to boost business, jobs and resources in the region.
The Jonsson family have done everything right in regards to Wombinoo Station and yet they have suffered financial loss and mental anguish as a result of this criminal activity by the Wilderness Society and the appalling journalism of ABC activist George Roberts.
I have written to the Chairman and Managing Director of the ABC lodging a formal complaint against Roberts and the editors.
The Jonsson family have now instigated legal proceedings against the Wilderness Society and the ABC and I hope they are successful. ABC editorial staff, George Roberts and the Wilderness Society need to be held accountable for the financial and emotional damage they have inflicted on the Jonsson family.
I urge all Cairns residents to show their support for the Jonsson family by shopping at their store. This would mean a lot to the family and assist in helping them to recover from this dreadful experience.