Save the Daintree - put conservation first

We're calling on the Douglas Shire Council, Queensland Government and Australian Government to dismiss current proposals for further development in the Daintree Lowland Rainforest and work together and with other stakeholders to develop a conservation management plan for the area.

  • Pressure is growing to develop parts of the Daintree Lowland Rainforest. In 2022, the Morrison Government committed $18.75 million to supply reticulated electricity to the Daintree. Pressure has also been mounting for a bridge to be built across the Daintree River. 
  • The exceptional biological and scientific values of the Daintree Coast mean the conservation and transmission of those values to future generations must take priority.
  • A thriving tourism economy is also founded on conservation and presentation.
  • The Daintree Lowland Rainforest in North Queensland is the oldest rainforest on the planet, with an unbroken evolutionary history going back over 120 million years to the first flowering plants. Let's not change that now.

Will you sign?

Background

Forty years ago, a group of activists put their bodies on the line to prevent a road being built through the Daintree Lowland Rainforest from Cape Tribulation to Cooktown. The Bloomfield Track was eventually built, however, resulting from the protests known collectively as the Daintree Blockade, the Wet Tropics rainforests of North Queensland were inscribed on the World Heritage list. Many people assumed Australia’s most biodiverse rainforest would be protected forever.

“Within the region, the Daintree River to Cape Tribulation coast has a special status. It is the last surviving, essentially intact, tropical lowland rainforest in Australia. It has one of the highest diversity of plant families anywhere in the world. Its rarity, fame and superlative beauty make it one of the foundations of the region’s economy. It is the only place in the world where two World Heritage Areas meet.” - IUCN

Unfortunately, plans have resurfaced for further development in an area most Australians thought was secure from development. Now, the threat is even more significant: renewed calls for a bridge over the Daintree River and an $18.75 million commitment from the federal government to supply reticulated electricity to the Daintree, at a time when it has no money for conservation.

This is one place where conservation should come before development, yet there is no shared vision for the Daintree’s future.

The Australian Government once protected the area by supporting its listing as a World Heritage Area, yet construction, at a cost of $18.75 million, has already commenced on a renewable energy microgrid, complete with a solar farm, battery and hydrogen plant, to connect the Daintree to reticulated electricity. While renewable energy is a much better option than the gas-fired power plant originally proposed, it doesn't address the biggest issue - that infrastructure like this will inevitably lead to increased pressure for urban development in the Daintree. There are also calls for a bridge or second ferry to increase vehicle access to the Daintree Lowland Rainforest. 

In the mid-1980s, a pro-development state government inappropriately rezoned leasehold and freehold in the Daintree Lowlands Rainforest, enabling a developer to subdivide it into 1,136 blocks. This has resulted in inappropriate road building, clearing and development of high conservation value rainforest. In the 1990s and 2000s, the Douglas Shire Council and the Queensland and Australian governments all contributed financially to the purchase or ‘buyback’ of freehold land aimed at preventing development and winding back the impacts of the subdivision. For 25 years, this has been complemented through acquisitions by local and national non-profit conservation organisations. These new proposed developments would give support for further rural residential development and must be stopped.

Letter            

Cr. Michael Kerr, Douglas Shire Council Mayor.

The Hon Meaghan Scanlon MP, Queensland Government Minister for Environment and the Great Barrier Reef

The Hon Tanya Plibersek MP, Australian Government Minister for the Environment.

We, the undersigned, call on the Douglas Shire Council, Queensland Government and Australian Government to dismiss current plans for further development in the Daintree Lowland Rainforest that include a bridge over the Daintree River and the establishment of reticulated mains electricity in the Douglas Shire Local Government Area.

The Daintree Lowland Rainforest is a place of extraordinary scientific, biological cultural values that are irreplaceable. It is a foundation of the regional economy and an icon that Australians thought was adequately protected. Yet it has no overall vision. The mix of world heritage, national parks, traditionally owned land and freehold title mean management responsibility is spread between agencies, local residents and traditional owners with poor co-ordination across key issues like clearing, weeds, pests, domestic animals, visitor facilities, presentation, community infrastructure, transport and access. It is therefore proposed the local, state and Australian governments design and fund a community-based Conservation Management Plan covering the entire ecosystem of the Daintree Lowland Rainforest, regardless of tenure. Key interests are Wet Tropics World Heritage Area, Daintree National Park (CYPAL), Native Title and freehold land.

We call on the Douglas Shire Council, Queensland Government and Australian Government to work together and with other stakeholders to develop a conservation management plan before any further investment in infrastructure is considered in the Daintree Lowland Rainforest.  

Yours faithfully,

2,213 signatures
  • Suzanne Reynolds
    signed 2019-05-06 00:26:01 +1000
  • Alan Curtis
    signed 2019-05-05 09:12:32 +1000
  • Janet McIntosh
    signed 2019-05-05 08:27:37 +1000
    It is time that Queensland set a leading example for environmental issues and climate change and put natural resources and biodiversity at the forefront of human overdevelopment. As humans we are but one species and should not see it as our right that all other species, be they plant or animal, are of no significance and dispensable.
  • Nicky Gordon
    signed 2019-05-05 07:39:08 +1000
  • Beverley Stanton
    signed 2019-05-04 22:31:35 +1000
  • Victoria Polkinghorne
    signed 2019-05-04 14:15:06 +1000
    It’s absolutely essential to stop further destruction of this unique part of the world.
  • Natalie Eggenberger
    signed 2019-05-04 13:23:33 +1000
  • Mr Bruce
    signed 2019-05-04 10:53:41 +1000
  • Leonie Findley
    signed 2019-05-04 10:09:23 +1000
  • Ann McGavin
    signed 2019-05-04 09:51:11 +1000
    They must be mad. You only have to look to Indonesia and the Amazon to see the results. Someone is not quiet right in the head.
  • Joey Venables
    signed 2019-05-04 06:47:43 +1000
  • Joe Gentile
    signed 2019-05-03 23:13:21 +1000
  • Barry Hicks
    signed 2019-05-03 14:31:27 +1000
  • Elizabeth Edwards
    signed 2019-05-03 11:42:12 +1000
    Raintree Forests are too precious too be in the hands of any one person or Company. They are the planets future.
  • Ingrid Wijeyewardene
    signed 2019-05-03 09:55:56 +1000
  • Wendy Hardman
    signed 2019-05-03 07:50:23 +1000
  • Lisa Jackson
    signed 2019-05-03 07:35:01 +1000
  • Deanne Palmer
    signed 2019-05-03 07:30:01 +1000
  • Roderick Lee
    signed 2019-05-03 06:59:42 +1000
  • Peter Clark
    signed 2019-05-03 06:56:41 +1000
    Rainforest is in enough trouble with climate change without having to deal with development as well
  • l hibberd
    signed 2019-05-03 01:40:49 +1000
    Save the Daintree!
  • Mike Mizzi
    signed 2019-05-03 00:10:49 +1000
  • Kate Papas
    signed 2019-05-02 22:19:41 +1000
  • Fiona Ballard
    signed 2019-05-02 21:55:25 +1000
  • Tyyni Lang
    signed 2019-05-02 20:48:28 +1000
  • A Hrymakowski
    signed 2019-05-02 18:50:21 +1000
  • wolfgang hellwig
    signed 2019-05-02 18:15:11 +1000
  • Matt Dillon
    signed 2019-05-02 17:15:51 +1000
  • Tracey Greenslade
    signed 2019-05-02 17:14:53 +1000
  • Stephen Swayne
    signed 2019-05-02 17:03:12 +1000