Daintree management proposal document causes a commotion


Howard Salkow

Senior Journalist

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In what has been labelled as a ‘damaging’ and ‘damning’ policy position that is explicit in its plans to restrict development and growth in the Daintree, has caught the community by surprise.

Entitled “Daintree Coast – a 30-year Management Strategy – Land Use and Infrastructure”, the document concludes under the headline of ‘Acknowledgement’: “This policy position was researched and presented by members of Daintree Coast Environment Network (DCEN) in consultation with residents of Daintree Coast and members of Douglas Shire Sustainability Group (DSSG) during 2019.”

Ms Connie Kerr, who until recently was the spokesperson for DCEN – its aims are to preserve and protect, restore, present, and interpret the environmental and cultural values of the Daintree Coast – told Newsport she is no longer the DCEN spokesperson and “therefore cannot comment at all in the capacity of DCEN regarding this document.” 

A Douglas Shire Council spokesperson said in a statement to Newsport: “the document was published by Douglas Shire Sustainability Group (DSSG) and was due to be tabled at the next Daintree Joint Management Committee meeting (which was scheduled for Friday).

“This is not a Douglas Shire Council document and Council is not aware that it has been uploaded to any website.”

The Daintree Joint Management Group launched in 2015 and comprises the following stakeholders: Douglas Shire Council, Jabalbina Yalanji Aboriginal Corporation, Daintree Coast Community Council, Tourism Port Douglas Daintree, Daintree Marketing Cooperative, Terrain Natural Resource Management, Wet Tropics Management Authority and QLD Parks & Wildlife Service.

The document can be accessed on the Daintree Conspiracy Facebook page

Rob Lapaer, who manages the Daintree Conspiracy site and Facebook page, says the document aims to obstruct the current micro-grid proposal and keep on buying back land and pushing people out. “Having gone from 1100 to 600 blocks available for settlement is not enough for them, they want more.”

Lapaer also highlights the following in the report: "This strategy is not intended to undermine the current community infrastructure such as education facilities, health services, telephone and television, but more to provide certainty to service providers about future demand potential and installation costs so that they can make more informed decisions."

In response, he said: “But, of course, if service providers hear about on-going substantial buyback, then they will not invest in any infrastructure if the population remains stagnant or will decline; the community will lose its school and clinic.”

Russell O’Doherty, president of Daintree Renewable Energy Inc., said he regarded the document as ‘damaging’ and ‘damning’.

“It is explicit in its plans to restrict development and growth in the Daintree. With this objective, we could see the school, shops and business closing.

 “They want to get people out of the Daintree. There is nothing in this document that will provide positive benefits to use north of the Daintree,” O’Doherty said.

O’Doherty said it is appalling no one that we know has been consulted in the Daintree community.
“Obviously it is being supported by the mayor and some councillors as there is a meeting we believe in the Council offices today,” he said.

The document notes the following: “DSSG will propose that the Daintree Coast - 30 Year Management Strategy – Land Use and Infrastructure becomes the foundation for the Daintree Futures Plan currently being developed by Daintree Joint Management Group.

“We acknowledge that while this is a fundamental element of a Futures Plan, there are many other aspects which are currently under development, including biodiversity, presentation and community development.”

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