10 May 2023

Irwins continue fight to close popular Cape York four-wheel drive track

| Matt Nicholls
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This sign has been erected by the Western Cape Chamber of Commerce, in partnership with Cook Shire Council, to remind motorists to stay on the track.

THE Irwin family has continued with its push to close a gazetted road in Cape York, despite a lack of support from Cook Shire or any of the neighbouring councils.

The Stones Crossing loop road, a shortcut between Weipa and Bramwell Station which traverses through part of the Steve Irwin Wildlife Reserve, had only existed as a line on a map until locals pushed a track through last year.

Since four-wheel drivers started using the track, the Irwin family, through its company Silverback Properties Pty Ltd, has pulled out all stops to have the road closed, despite opposition from locals and the Torres and Cape Indigenous Councils Alliance.

Legal representatives from the company sent a detailed case to Cook Shire earlier in the year, asking the council for support to have the road de-gazetted.

However, in May, Cook Shire councillors voted unanimously to keep the road open.

Prior to the property changing hands, there was a road through, then known as the Bertiehaugh Road. However, the gate has been locked for years and is only opened for select tour groups.

The crew from Hema Maps have logged the Stones Crossing loop road in their system.

The new track is different to the old road and is only accessible for a handful of months per year.

The future of the Stones Crossing loop road is now in the hands of the state government’s Department of Resources.

However, the department has already botched the notice of closure on its website.

Under case number 2022/001285, the notice incorrectly states the road is in Aurukun Shire Council and says it is located off the “Bamage (sic) Road”.

Despite the glaring errors, the Weipa Town Authority and the Western Cape Chamber of Commerce are already preparing to write submissions in support of keeping the road open.

Cook Shire and TCICA are also expected to follow suit.

Those interested in keeping the Stones Crossing loop road open have until November 3 to lodge their objections.

With the popularity of the road increasing, a large number of submissions are expected.

To make a submission, click on this link.

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