Cleared land on the Wombinoo property
Farmers in Queensland are suspected of defying
a federal government order to cease clearing land in a barrier reef
catchment area which hosts several endangered species.
In 2015, landowners in Wombinoo received permission under lenient state laws to clear more than 3,000 hectares (ha) of native forest, to cultivate avocadoes and grow silage for their cattle operation.
They felled 560ha before the federal government intervened, drawing on a rarely used
regulation requiring activities of “national environmental significance” to be
assessed by the federal authorities.
No approval was granted for further clearing. The previous
clearing was judged to require investigation, as it threatened endangered
species including the greater glider and koalas
However, footage has emerged allegedly showing a further 60ha of clearing between March and April this year. Lawyers have written to
federal and state governments on behalf of the Wilderness Society, flagging up
the clearing and asking what action will be taken.
the Guardian all relevant approvals had been secured before any
clearing took place.
“As a producer we’re sick of people like [the Wilderness
Society] trying to stop productivity in this bloody nation and that’s why we’ve
got a deficit going up at $20,000 a second,” one of the owners of the property
Deforestation rates in Queensland jumped
33% in 2016, part of an environmental crisis which
has made the state the only “global deforestation hotspot” in the
developed world. Earlier this year, Earthsight reported on 100ha of unauthorised clearance on a cattle ranch in Cape York.