Freehold land rights thrown out
A DECISION to ban development in the World Heritage-listed Daintree rainforest has outraged landowners, who castigated Peter Beattie on talk-back radio yesterday during his visit to Cairns.
On Monday, the Douglas Shire Council passed a planning scheme to prevent people who bought freehold blocks in the Daintree 20 years ago from developing the land, bringing to an end two years of political wrangling over the rainforest's future.So much for freehold title. Less than 20 years ago the Daintree was a hippy colony and any talk of roads or any other development was shouted down. Roads brought civilization...civilization brought police....police frowned on and locked up drug users. In 1982 I did a recce of the area looking for sufficient room to conduct an infantry exercise for 1RAR. We stopped in at the Cooktown Police station and introduced ourselves to the local Sergeant. He had just taken over the area and when we announced our intention to look at the Daintree his eyes opened wide. He was too scared to go down there as he had it on good intelligence that the drug runners were armed with M16 A2s and wisely he figured his .38 S&W pistol wasn't up to the job. He fantasised about a battalion of infantry with associated M16s, GPMG M60s, SLRs, rocket launchers and the likes adding some balance to the equation but we had to disappoint him. We explained we were career officers and slaughtering civilians, even if they were drug runners and maybe deserved such summary justice, would be a poor career move. He knew this of course but it does reflect the aura of the Daintree. These days thousands of civilians cross the Daintree river every year and ooh and ah at the local rainforests but I wouldn't be surprised that if they stopped and lived there for awhile they would smell the undercurrent of alternative people. The issue is not a small one and could tip the scales against the government. We are talking about a 100 blocks spread over a huge area currently controlled by local mayor Mike Berrick who my Cairns contact tells me is the quintessential greenie; a watermelon, red on the inside and green on the outside and typically anti-development. The freehold land owners have a case for compensation and the Premier has agreed to land valuation plus 10% and well he should as the valuation they are using is based on the value of the land without development rights. The land was brought freehold and should be valued as such - with development rights. Unfair but that's what happens when you have a labour government. To keep the factions quite the greenies need to be appeased and thrown regular swill to keep them onside and so the people suffer financially. Still in the north residents of Charters Towers are under siege from flying foxes, and hope an election will finally prompt action from the politicians in Brisbane. Good luck guys. Residents have invited Premier Peter Beattie and Environment Minister Desley Boyle to stay in their houses overnight so they can hear the screeching of up to 20,000 black and red flying foxes themselves.
"(The noise goes on) all day and all night . . . the minister has said the bats sleep during the day," said Kaye Jackson at 10am yesterday as she shouted to be heard above hundreds of flying foxes. She said: "We can't have a barbecue, we can't sell our house, we can't do anything."It is illegal to kill them and harassing the flying foxes with loud noise is only allowed from 5am to 7am and after 5pm. Yep, another Greenie places bats above humans in the feed chain. I'd harrass the foxes with a loud noise being the detonation of the percussion cap and propellant of a 12 bore. The answer? We are looking into a chemical deterrant.
But a spokesman for Ms Boyle said the Environmental Protection Agency was researching whether a chemical deterrent could move the bats away without killing them.Flying foxes have been a problem in towns for hundreds of years and the EPA is looking at answers now! What the spokesman really meant was we don't think we will loose votes over this issue so I'll say just throw a platitude their way to settle down the rednecks and the problem will be buried. As I said Good luck the Towers. You may be outnumbered almost three to one by the bats but Greenies don't count people.