PREMIER Anna Bligh has plucked eight random rivers to add to the Wild Rivers legislation list merely to meet the quota she promised green groups, Federal Member for Leichhardt Warren Entsch says.
Mr Entsch labelled Labor’s pledge to declare five more rivers on Cape York as being exempt from mining, damming and other development as no more than a policy to please the Wilderness Society.
“The Premier is happy to bow to the green groups because of promises made prior to previous elections but she’s ignoring the wishes of Traditional Owners and other Cape York residents affected by these Brisbane-based decisions,” he said.
“There has never been an issue with development or activity on any of the rivers this State Government has imposed this innocuous law on. Indigenous people know the value of these rivers and the sensitivity of the ecosystems in these area; they don’t need misguided motherhood instructions from a narrow-minded State Government to protect the land they know and own.”
Mr Entsch said Ms Bligh had nominated the latest five rivers because she was desperate to meet the commitment made by Labor in 2004 to have 19 rivers protected under the divisive legislation.
“Because of the green groups and the State Government’s willingness to appease them, efforts to increase economic activity on the Cape is being stifled,” he said.
“We’re talking about economic and social opportunities that could help empower remote indigenous communities by increasing jobs and pride.
“I look forward to a change in government and a change in attitude and a change in fortunes for Cape York landholders who have no say in the management of their own land.”