A proposed bridge across the Daintree River will fuel further development of the World Heritage value rainforest along the Daintree coast and must be stopped.
- Currently, the only way to reach the Daintree is by vehicular barge across the Daintree River.
- The local authority, Douglas Shire Council is exploring options for a bridge over the Daintree River.
- A bridge will have an enormous flow-on effect. It will increase the number of vehicles and the hours of the day that they’re on roads. Vehicle strike is a killer of the Southern Cassowary and endangered species critical to the rainforest’s natural ability to regenerate.
- An increase in traffic will lead to growth in property prices, increased demand for additional services such as energy supply, further fragmentation of highly sensitive ecosystems, and disturbance of terrestrial and aquatic environments.
- 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.
People power has saved the Daintree time and time again and it will this time too. Sign the petition to demand the Douglas Shire Council to dismiss all proposals for a bridge over the Daintree River which will irreparably impact fragile ecosystems and the endangered animals that live within them.
To Douglas Shire Council
Urgently put a stop to proposals for a bridge across the Daintree River and instead work to protect the region’s natural values.
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Building a bridge over the Daintree River will support further undesirable development. For decades, governments and NGOs have been investing in buying back blocks adjacent to the World Heritage Area to slow down development. And now the Douglas Shire Council has put a bridge back on the table.
A bridge over the Daintree has been floated on and off for decades and has been met with opposition from the local community and conservationists across the world.
A bridge poses a significant threat to the area’s biodiversity. There’s no doubt a bridge brings with it an increase in vehicular traffic to this internationally significant region. With a bridge will come the following impacts:
- 24-hour access across the river means cars are crossing the river at all times of day and night, putting at risk already endangered wildlife.
- The construction phase and inevitable road upgrade will disturb sensitive ecosystems, both terrestrial and aquatic.
- The bridge is likely to increase the number and type of services available to residents and tourists of the Daintree, for example, deliveries and waste services
- An increase in tourism development will increase road kills of native wildlife, including the endangered Southern Cassowary
- Expansion to the road network will create an edge effect, opening up the rainforest canopy and further catalyzing the spread of pest plants and animals
- Tourists currently visit the Daintree for its intact rainforest and genuine wildlife experiences. Additional infrastructure will undermine the region’s natural values
People power has saved the Daintree time and time again and it will this time too. We’re calling on the Douglas Shire Council to put a stop to development in the Daintree once and for all and to cease all proposals exploring a bridge across the Daintree River.
Rainforest 4 Foundation and the Jabalbina Yalanji Aboriginal Corporation are working together to ensure land purchased for conservation is protected in the Daintree National Park and will be managed by the Traditional Owners.Read more
Fan Palm forest is one of Australia’s most beautiful landscapes and, in a land, where bushfires and all too common they provide a welcome oasis for the mind. They are also one of our most endangered ecosystems which has given us extra motivations to purchase and protect Lot 305 Cypress Road in the Daintree Lowland Rainforest.Read more
- Pressure is growing to develop the Daintree Lowland Rainforest with calls for a Gas Fired Power Station to supply reticulated electricity, a bridge across the Daintree River and widening and straightening the Cape Tribulation Road.
- The exceptional biological and scientific values of the Daintree Coast mean the conservation, presentation 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. Lets not change that now.
To the Douglas Shire Council, Queensland Government and Australian Government.
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.
Over 30 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 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. Only now the threat is even more significant. With plans for widening and straightening the main road comes calls for a bridge over the Daintree River as well as a gas fired power station to provide reticulated electricity. The Australian Government is even considering subsidising development – and right 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 and there is no conservation management plan for the area.
The Australian Government once protected the area by supporting its listing as a World Heritage Area yet it is now considering its support for widening and straightening the main road from the Daintree River through to Cooktown. The project will require extensive earthworks and clearing of significant rainforest and will result in a massive increase in traffic as well as a bridge over the Daintree River. That same government is supporting planning to build a gas-fired power plant on the Daintree Coast to reticulate mains power through the area. There are also calls for a bridge or second ferry to increase vehicle access to the Daintree Lowland Rainforest.
In the Mid 1980’s a pro-development State Government inappropriately rezoned leasehold and freehold in the Daintree Lowlands Rainforest, enabling a developer to subdivide it into approximately 1,100 blocks. This has resulted in inappropriate road building, clearing and development of high conservation value rainforest. IN the 1990’s and 2000’s 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.
Cr. Michael Kerr, Douglas Shire Council Mayor
The Hon Leeanne Enoch MP, Queensland Government Minister for Environment and the Great Barrier Reef.
The Hon Sussan Ley MP, Australian Government Minister for the Environment.
We, the undersigned, call on the Douglas Shire Council, Queensland Government and Australian Government to dismiss current proposals for further development in the Daintree Lowland Rainforest that include an upgraded coast road, a bridge over the Daintree River and reticulated mains electricity generated by a gas-fired power station.
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 or management plan. 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 World Heritage Area, Daintree National Parks, 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.