15 March 2024

Freehold consultation failure rings World Heritage alarm bells for Cook candidate

| Lyndon Keane
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A map showing the Quinkan Country National Heritage List parcel of land, which Traditional Owner groups are currently voting on to determine whether it will be put forward as a prospective World Heritage site. Photo: Department of Climate Change, Energy, the Environment and Water.

One Nation’s candidate for Cook says he believes there is “nothing accidental” about the Queensland Government’s lack of consultation with freehold property owners in the current Cape York World Heritage listing debate.

Cape York Weekly revealed on 5 March that the government had taken no steps to consult with owner of Mountain View, a 12,300-acre property north of Lakeland, despite approximately 30 per cent of it falling within the proposed Quinkan Country land parcel Traditional Owners are currently being asked whether they want to receive World Heritage status.

Despite the government admitting any land put forward to UNESCO for listing “must have landholder consent”, freehold property owners have been left in the dark and say they have not had any contact to determine their views.

Peter Campion, who will fly One Nation’s flag when voters have their say at the October 2024 state election, slammed the move and said it appeared as though the government had the best interests of UNESCO, not freehold pastoralists, in mind.

One Nation candidate for Cook Peter Campion has slammed the State Government’s approach to World Heritage engagement as an “inexcusable failure”. Photo: Supplied.

“If Cape York residents and property owners wanted evidence that the Labor party is not representing their interests, but is instead representing the interests of unelected foreign organisations … they only need to consider Labor’s abject and inexcusable failure to consult the actual owners of the freehold properties that are being proposed for World Heritage Listing,” Mr Campion said.

While the State Government has engaged the Cape York Land Council to seek support from Traditional Owners about the World Heritage plan, Mr Campion said it was concerning similar consultation with freehold property owners had not been deemed a priority.

READ ALSO ‘Flawed’ World Heritage process leaves Cape York freehold owners in the dark

“I am very concerned about this thinly-disguised attack on a foundational pillar of Western society and, in my considered opinion, there is nothing accidental about the Labor government’s failure to consult the owners of the affected freehold properties.

“Everything Labor and the Labor-lite LNP have done in recent years seems deliberately designed to weaken our state and country, and to place us at the mercy of these foreign organisations [and] the law of averages precludes accidents and coincidences when it’s happening all the time.

“So, yes, Labor’s sneaky theft of individuals’ property rights seems to be a fait accompli, and its timing appears rushed to beat the October [election] deadline.”

Minister for the Environment and the Great Barrier Reed Leanne Linard told Cape York Weekly consultation was currently under way with some Traditional Owner groups.

“The Miles and Albanese Governments are committed to World Heritage listing for Cape York,” she said.

“An application for listing will only proceed with the free, prior and informed consent of interested Traditional Owners.

“If a tentative listing is successful, more detailed and wider consultation will occur in the preparation of a subsequent, more detailed nomination.”

The Lakeland and Laura region adjacent to Quinkan Country is likely to remain on the political map for some time to come as criticism about the Miles Government’s stakeholder engagement process heats up. Photo: Lyndon Keane.

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