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Qld Labor wastes millions buying cattle properties to hand over to indigenous groups – www.cairnsnews.org

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Queensland Labor has this week purchased two western Queensland cattle stations, with the more than 200,000 hectares of land to be added to the Protected Areas Estate.

Tonkoro Station, near Longreach and Melrose Station, near Winton, contain habitat for rare and critically endangered species. So does every other cattle and sheep property across the state.

Cattle grazing on Tonkoro Station soon to be removed and taken out of production

Tonkoro, at 341,000 acres was running 4500 head of cattle with the ability to carry 6000 head. The 180,000 acre Melrose has been running 2500 head cattle or previously has carried 10,000 sheep.

These properties have been taken out of production to be handed over to Aborigines. The extensive fixed improvements on these places, in line with QPWS policy, systematically will be pulled down and disposed of in the property dump.

Local service towns, schools, councils, saleyards, tradesmen, fuel suppliers, grocery stores and local employment are the first to suffer from the loss of these farming families and their employees. National parks and protected areas do not pay council rates yet expect the same amount of roadworks to be done by the local council.

Station complex at Melrose. How much will be left in two years time?

Queensland Labor parks and wildlife policy, under the guise of saving the environment, is to remove any traces of human settlement. Based on experiences of other similar properties these environmental vandals have acquired, they will remove all man-made watering points such as windmills and troughs, spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on earth moving equipment to bulldoze fences, dams and bore drains, fill in water bores with dirt and rocks, then knock down older homes and sheds, raze stock yards and any other infrastructure.

All done with taxpayers funds. The native animals and birds usually perish after the water has been removed. Any natural watercourses are seasonal and in the dry season birds and marsupials disappear.

Labor claims securing these properties will also help protect the headwaters of the Queensland section of the Lake Eyre Basin, one of the last remaining free-flowing arid river systems in the world. Much of western Queensland performs this function.

The former owners of these properties have done a tremendous job protecting these properties over the past 130 years if they now have any areas worthy of so-called protection.

QPWS is notorious for its mismanagement of the vast areas of viable grazing country it has acquired and handed over to Aboriginal groups. Cape York Peninsula is a great example.

The purchase of Tonkoro Station near Longreach and almost all of Melrose Station near Winton will enable the more than 200,000 hectares of land acquired to be added to Queensland’s protected area.

The acquisitions are part of Labor’s commitment to sterilise Queensland’s protected areas, which now totals more than 14.51 million hectares (36 million acres). Together, Tonkoro and Melrose stations represent a nationally significant protected area acquisition under the government’s $262.5 million funding package for protected area expansion.

These two properties will also make a major contribution to protecting the headwaters of the Queensland section of the Lake Eyre Basin, one of the last remaining free-flowing arid river systems in the world and one of Australia’s most important inland catchments. This is all the more reason to keep these environmental vandals out of food production areas.

Both properties contain regional ecosystems and biodiversity values which are either not represented, or are under-represented, in Queensland’s existing protected area estate. This claim is nonsense. The state has acquired far too many similar properties in Queensland which has in effect helped to depopulate the west.

These acquisitions will consolidate suitable habitat for a range of rare and endangered species, including the critically endangered Night Parrot and the highly restricted Opalton Grasswren.

Acquiring the properties will protect, in perpetuity, two significant indigenous cultural landscapes. Tonkoro Station adjoins Goneaway National Park and is known to be part of the lands of the Maiawali people and Melrose Station adjoins Bladensburg National Park which is part of the lands of the Koa People.

Planning and engagement with First Nations people and local stakeholders will commence in the coming months. This will help determine capital and operating funding required to develop suitable infrastructure and land management operations which will create jobs and economic benefits for local communities.

Future opportunities for ecotourism will also be explored. Would an incoming LNP government return these and many other similar properties back into economic production? No.

The United Nations Rights of Indigenous People are sacrosanct.

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