Jun 2017

Caution in Gulf over bid for UNESCO Global Geopark

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16 JUNE 2017 

KAP Federal Member for Kennedy today joined Gulf of Carpentaria cattlemen in cautioning against the potential declaration of the 40,000sqkm Etheridge Shire as the first UNESCO Global Geopark in Australia.

In a message to a Georgetown meeting called over community concern at the proposal, Mr Katter said: “I fully understand your fears for our cattle industry if the entire Shire is registered as a UNESCO park.

“The World Heritage declarations on the North Queensland east coast had to meet the terms and conditions set down by UNESCO. But those conditions most certainly did not suit anyone in North Queensland outside of the usual greenie bludgerigars.

“In fact, it’s been disastrous for the development of Northern Australia. Two thousand jobs went in the timber industry.

“To quote but one other small example – go ask the people of Yarrabah how they went under UNESCO’s World Heritage listing. It immediately closed down their truss-building factory, which was 24 jobs gone, completely.

“I mean, the only 24 jobs we had in Yarrabah were gone thanks to World Heritage! And if our First Australians can’t win against UNESCO, what chance have we got? No chance at all!”

Mr Katter told the meeting “we have every right to fear that we won’t be able cut a tree down, put in a fencepost, or change a fenceline without permission from Canberra and, arguably, UNESCO”.

He said despite any conditions being dependent on the park being registered, as advised, by UNESCO, “do we want to be told by a Ms Irina Bokova from Bulgaria, (the head of UNESCO,) what we can and can’t do on our properties in the Gulf, and on our town land?”

Mr Katter added that he did not blame the Councillors for proposing the entire Etheridge Shire become a UNESCO park.

“They have been given half the story. But I plead with the community to reconsider this proposal. There are other ways of going about this,” he said.


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