Has the Queensland Government Done a Backflip?
NPAQ understands the pressure that Minister Miles may be under, however the need for a review of leasehold lots of Grongah National Park is questionable.
As a review has been instigated, it is imperative that any review of past assessment processes or a re-assessment of Grongah National Park instituted by Minister Miles, be based on clear scientific criteria, that is publicly available.
However, we question the basis of a need for a re-assessment. An analysis of the state biodiversity significance of Grongah National Park leases shows a significance of 92%, with a significance of 96% to 100% on the two individual lots in question.
Some further information:
- The 83 properties in question, including the Lohse property, are leased by the State to graziers; being land owned by the State.
- Previously, many of these properties were State Forests or Timber Reserves, they were never privately owned.
- Most of the properties were declared national park under the South-East Queensland Forest Agreement (SEQFA) in 1999; which is resulting in the phasing out of grazing in these lands – as stock grazing is not part of a national park.
- The SEQFA was an agreement between opposing parties (timber industry, conservation organisations, state government), to transition the hardwood industry from timber supplied from Crown native forests to a resource based on plantations and private forests.
- The SEQFA represented the most secure forest agreement in Australia (at that time); and was part of a national policy to resolve long running community debates regarding the appropriate use of our forests.
- Aside from the Newman Government’s legislative attempt to turn these fixed term leases into rolling term leases of 20-30 years (capable of being continuously rolled-over). These leasehold properties were leased to graziers for specified time periods.
- The Palaszczuk Government overturned the concept of rolling term leases on national park. In recognition of the impact for leaseholders the government has offered compensation along with ample notice for graziers to transition and remove their cattle on expiring leases.
- This reform was often misinterpreted in the media as “For nearly a century, farmers have been able to lease national park land in Queensland to graze their cattle”; and that this ‘right’ was now to be lost.
- Since the declarations as national park, the majority of graziers have had approximately 10 to 18 years to transition to other properties.
- Understandably, but in direct conflict to the purpose of national parks, some graziers have been fighting to continue their termed leases past their expiry dates.
- The Lohse leasehold secured another 20 year lease in 2004.
- The Lohse leasehold is part of Grongah National Park, gazetted in 2007 as part of the SEQFA, when Boompa 3, Gigoomgan, Grongah, Marodian, Teebar 1 and Teebar 2 forest reserves were combined to form a national park.
- The Grongah National Park is stated as protecting regional ecosystems of high conservation value and several plants and animals of conservation significance.
- The Newman Government had a determined agenda of removing conservation as the primary focus of national parks and the use of national parks as grazing, logging and recreational lands. As part of this agenda, they instituted a Protected Area Review – which included a desktop review of national parks.
- It is believed that this is the Freedom of Information documents that the Lohse graziers have obtained and not the original 2004 documents that supported
Obviously, it is an emotive issue, as the Lohse leaseholders are more than happy to pull the biodiversity / threatened species card when wanting to stop logging on a perpetual lease they have on state forest where forestry rights exist “virgin country that’s never been touched – it’s in pristine condition…..We know the damage will be irreversible, the biodiversity, the threatened species, the whole impact on Springvale will be devastating”. (ABC News, Brisbane, Elaine Ford, 11th May2016).
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