What is the current issue?
A case of déjà vu! The community is gearing up again to fight for the integrity of World Heritage listed Springbrook National Park and we want you to join us. Recently Ray Stevens, Member of Parliament for Mermaid, confounded Parliament and the community by announcing that his company RuRay had set up a subsidiary company Skyride, to build a cableway through World Heritage listed Springbrook National Park. The cableway, if approved, would be 9 kilometres in length with four stations, beginning at Polly’s Kitchen and ending on The Settlement section of the national park, adjacent to Purlingbrook Falls. Some 40-50 pylons, with large concrete bases, would be required to travers the national park through bushfire prone territory and unstable soils. It anticipated that up to 2000 people per day could land in tiny Springbrook which has no town water or sewage.
Unfortunately since the last cableway proposal in 1998-2000 this LNP Government has changed the cardinal principle of National parks in Queensland which could enable such mass tourism infrastructure to be built in our small and special Springbrook National Park. The Nature Conservation and other Legislation Act in which the cardinal principle has been changed from the Conservation of Nature to “The cardinal principle for managing national parks is to provide, to the greatest possible extent, for the permanent preservation of the area’s natural condition and the protection of the area’s cultural resources and values”.
The Government does not appears to consider that a Member of Parliament , who is Assistant Minister to the Premier and therefore in Cabinet, has a conflict of interest in building this cableway. However questions do have to be asked about this. Was Mr Stevens, a member of Cabinet, involved in any way with decisions to change the cardinal principle of national parks that now enables his proposed cableway? Was he involved in any way in the development of the DestinationQ Tourism Strategy which encourages commercial development in national parks and other protected areas? Did he vote in Cabinet on any of these matters which now facilitate his proposed cableway?
Scuttlebutt tells us that the Initial Advise Statement, the first stage of a development application, is nearly ready for release to the public for comment. That would be followed by an Environmental Impact Assessment which will also be open for public comment.
Watch this space for updates.
History so far?
This proposal is very similar to one proposed in 1998-2000 also by Mr Stevens and was not approved by the Government of the day because it failed to meet environmental, economic and safety standards. These environmental reasons included “threatening national park values “and “compromising World Heritage values.” The Commonwealth Minister of the time “identified the potential for the project to have a significant impact on Matters of National Environmental Significance (World Heritage values and threatened species) “ The World Heritage Area of Springbrook National Park constitutes a part of the Gondwana Rainforests of Australia and was recognised as worthy of listing as World Heritage because it
- represents a major stage of the earth’s evolutionary history
- is an outstanding example of ongoing ecological and biological processes.
- contains the most important natural habitats for conserving biological diversity.
The community fought very hard in the last cableway campaign and were successful in defeating that proposal. The same community and newcomers are gearing up rapidly to fight the campaign again. The reasons for refusal in 2000 have not changed despite changes to the Nature Conservation Act.