Daintree Rainforest Camera Trap Project

As a part of its long-term Daintree Rainforest Camera Trap Project, 2021 accrued 1210-cassowary sightings, 225-dingoes and 1,543-feral-pigs.  In comparison with 2020, cassowary numbers increased by 55%, dingoes decreased by 44% and feral-pig sightings rose by a mere 6%.  The significant increase in cassowary numbers is primarily due to the far greater number of surviving chicks (9:1) and the much reduced number of dingo sightings, which also undoubtedly contributed to increased piglet-numbers for 2021.

Population sightings across 2021:

Daintree Rainforest 2021 Camera Traps

Population sightings across 2020:

Daintree Rainforest 2021 Camera Traps

Overlay of population sightings between 2020 & 2021:

Daintree Rainforest 2021 Camera Traps

Environmental Advocacy


Official contention that the impact of feral pigs upon Daintree rainforest dynamics is weak, was strenuously countered:

In their relentless search for protein, an estimated 60,000-feral-pigs within the Wet Tropics World Heritage Area (WTWHA) dig for earth-worms across twelve-hours of every day, devastating the integrity of this highly-refined root structure and allowing massive quantities of rainforest product to be lost from these gaping wounds of broad-scale feral-pig disturbance.  From the tip of Cape York down to Bundaberg and across the eastern-expanse of the Great Dividing Range, the relentless excavations of an estimated six-million feral-pigs ensures that the Great Barrier Reef is continuously polluted by soil deposition.  Feral-boars force male cassowaries off their nests to devour the eggs and feral-pig droves predate upon juvenile cassowaries.  Feral-pigs also attract pig-hunters, with their menacing pig-dogs, which are often released illegally into WTWHA rainforest causing carnage across the rainforest estate with casualties beyond feral-pigs.


Queensland’s statutory requirement that all landholders (except the State) must ‘control’ dingoes, which are declared as ‘wild dogs’ the instant they exit Protected Areas, was also challenged:

Dingoes are the major native predator of feral-pigs within the WTWHA rainforest.  Estuarine Crocodiles also predate upon feral-pigs, but only in and adjacent to estuarine watercourses.  Dingoes predate across the full expanse of the terrestrial landscape, but Queensland dingoes are only dingoes in Protected Areas and when they exit into adjoining tenures they instantly become ‘wild-dogs’, requiring lethal land-holder control, by shooting, trapping, fencing, baiting and livestock guardian dogs combined with land management.

Ferry over-charging

In response to Douglas Shire Council (DSC)’s adoption of both the Daintree Ferry Revenue General Policy and also the Daintree Ferry Schedule of Fees and Charges for the 2021/22 financial year, carried at the SPECIAL COUNCIL MEETING held on 8 JUNE 2021, the Foundation expressed concerns for potentially unlawful aspects of these policies and on that basis called upon DSC to rescind the resolutions and root out any unlawful elements, before voting again on properly reviewed motions.

When Justice J. Moynihan delivered his 26 July 2005 Supreme Court ruling, that the fees determined by DSC as fares to travel by ferry across Daintree River were unlawfully imposed, the operating surplus in respect of the ferry exceeded fifty per cent of the costs of the ferry’s operation and maintenance.  Since the operating surplus was deemed a tax and Local Government is not authorised to make charges that include a tax component, the operating surplus was declared unlawful.

At common law, a ferry is a monopoly toll franchise created by an Act of Parliament for the benefit of the public.  DSC’s projected increase in ferry revenue and its admission that the Daintree Ferry subsidises DSC’s general rates by providing a revenue stream, manifests, yet again, as a tax – characterised by a compulsory extracture of money by a public authority for public purposes, enforceable by law, which is not exclusively a payment for ferry-transportation services rendered.

The Daintree Ferry Revenue General Policy establishes that only a portion of revenue derived from the Daintree Ferry operations, which is surplus to annual operating expenditure, shall be constrained for the purposes of funding whole of life costs required to sustain this essential service.  The policy advises that capping the contribution from each Daintree Ferry annual operating surplus at five hundred thousand dollars, will ensure that there is not an unnecessary constraint on funds required for capital works projects and the maximum level of funds constrained in this reserve will be four million dollars.

Since DSC admits that the Daintree Ferry generates revenue for Council, netting an estimated $1.15 million annually, within the management framework of the recently resolved Daintree Ferry Revenue General Policy (commencing 1 July 2021) five hundred thousand dollars will be allocated to the Reserve and the balance (~six hundred and fifty thousand dollars) will stream into capital works revenue.  It is this latter majority portion, which is explicitly not for the purposes of funding whole of life costs required to sustain this essential ferry service, which manifests as a tax.

As yet. the Foundation has received no response from DSC and has since lodged a formal complaint.

Indigenous Sacred Site EN:C53

If the number of willing travellers does not diminish because of the 25% increase in ferry-fees, commencing 1 July 2021, revenue from ticket sales will increase from $3.5-million to $4.375-million per annum, commandeering the bulk of the consumer surplus from which north-of-the-Daintree-River’s conservation economy is otherwise derived.  It would be very interesting to know to what extent this fortune is derived from the tacit provision of public access into this declared Aboriginal Sacred Site (EN:C53).  What is manifestly clear, however, is that none of that aggregating fortune has been put at risk by expenditure upon the fulfilment of the statutory duty-of-care to protect Aboriginal Cultural Heritage by securing a protective resolution.

Annual & Financial Reports

The annual report and a concise summary of the financial statements are presented above, however, any Member may request a hard copy of the full report.
DRFL fiscal 2021

On behalf of the Foundation, I hereby thank the generous contributors to the Daintree Rainforest Fund and also the directors, Mr. Ron Shoppee, Mr. Paul Chantrill, Mr. Cliff Wise, Mr. Emrys Nekvapil, Ms. Prue Hewett and Mrs. Angie Hewett for their enthusiasm, dedication and all the various contributions that have brought the Daintree Rainforest Foundation Ltd., successfully to its sixth Annual General Meeting.

Neil Hewett – Chairperson