Queensland farmers accused of defying federal order to cease clearances

27.11.2017

Cleared land on the Wombinoo property Photo: Wilderness Society

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.

Landowners told 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 said.

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.

More from Blog

There Will Be Blood / Four key takeaways from our latest report

Continue reading
UK Environment Act / Analyses show exemptions would create dangerous loopholes

Continue reading

Leather / BMW fails to substantiate allegations against Earthsight’s research


Continue reading
It is essential that a mandatory public list of non-compliant businesses is included in the final regulation to curb EU-driven deforestation and forest degradation

Continue reading
Brazil / World’s largest sovereign wealth fund finds beef giant guilty of driving illegal deforestation

Continue reading
Grand Theft Chaco II / Paraguay Senate seeks accountability from government following Earthsight illegal deforestation exposé

Continue reading
EU anti-deforestation law / Suspect timber firms lobby for certified wood ‘green lane’ in draft proposal

Continue reading
Open letter / Paraguay must halt invasions, deforestation of indigenous Ayoreo lands

Continue reading
FSC hall of shame / The ethical wood label’s long line of scandals

Continue reading
Open letter / Ethical wood label FSC is no longer fit for purpose and must urgently reform

Continue reading

Stay up to date with all Earthsight news & updates

Receive email updates for the latest news and insights from Earthsight and be among the first to read our new investigations.

We keep your data secure and don’t share anything with third parties. Read full terms.