Daintree Rainforest Foundation LTD maintains the Daintree Rainforest Fund, to protect, conserve, present, rehabilitate and transmit Wet Tropics World Heritage values to present and future generations, through long-term dedicated inhabitancy, research and presentation expertise. Cumulative knowledge of the World Heritage ecosystem and its management are documented and regularly published.  In contrast with the majority of charities campaigning to ‘Save the Daintree Rainforest’, mostly from thousands of kilometres away, Daintree Rainforest Foundation LTD operates exclusively within the Daintree World Heritage environment and constitutionally must perform its functions in a way that is consistent with the protection of inhabitant people, who are not only constituent parts of the legislated definition of environment , but also its sole caretakers and exclusive repository of inhabitant knowledge.

The last annual general meeting was held under a cloud of profound sadness, with the recent death of co-founding director – Cliff Wise, on 2nd December 2022.  Cliff was a most respected and dedicated director, who was left quadriplegic from a roof-fall, enduring 39-years in a wheelchair, but in such an inspiring manner that he was awarded the esteemed Order of Australia Medal for his work representing paralysed Australians, pioneering quadriplegic & paraplegic release from hospitals back into homes with attendant care.  Cliff was a voice for the incapacitated who were otherwise unable to represent themselves, securing a better standard of care for future incapacitated people.   Cliff’s bravery and dedication will certainly not be forgotten.  The board sympathises with Cliff’s family; wife Wendy, son Andrew and Daughter Kim and share their sad loss; having had the very best of what Cliff was able to give.

Incumbent directors, Ron Shoppee, Paul Chantrill, Emrys Nekvapil, Prudence Hewett, Angie Hewett and Neil Hewett, were re-elected to the board and by subsequent board approval, Neil Hewett was re-appointed chairperson, Angie Hewett was re-appointed deputy chairperson and Prudence Hewett was re-appointed secretary/treasurer.  David Bosanquet BCom FCPA, Principal of Competitive Professional Accounting, was authorised by the board to audit the Foundation’s finances across the ensuing year.

Conveying the outcome of the annual elections, the board subsequently learned of another tragic loss, with the passing of another co-founding director, Ron Shoppee.  Ron lived a rich and varied life, working in executive and management positions with several multi-national corporations, taking him into the outback and overseas and working with Indigenous peoples in several countries.  He was a student and practitioner of creative arts and made several documentaries for Australian Adventure and Tourism, including the Stockman’s Hall of Fame.  Ron was a unique and wonderful friend who supported the values of the Daintree Rainforest Foundation through his co-founding directorship.  Providing artistic support and marketing strategies, his opinions were greatly valued as we worked harmoniously together, weathering challenging communications.  In the spirit of the Stockman’s Hall of Fame, Ron dedicated his most recent labours towards a Daintree Rainforest artistic extravaganza in Sydney, aiming to produce a mixture of large, medium and small artworks to project a diversity of rainforest culture, with additional works and other tactile creations to extend the impact and ultimate effect.  These artworks were to detail fossils from Gondwanan ferns, gymnosperms and relictual angiosperms, via a mix that would accentuate the realism, truth and believability of the rainforest proper … the Daintree Rainforest; its origins and inherent existence and particularly the original human inhabitants – the Kuku Yalanji.  Ron estimated approximately 35 separate works embracing a myriad of rainforest impressions, showcasing what is held in reverence by a privileged few to the greater inspiration of the many.  Ron was also working enthusiastically within the growing alliance between art and science, crafting artistic interpretations of micro-magnified photographic images, via artistic exaggeration and disciplined precision in dramatic form and colour.  Some images would merge both science and art, to create a remarkable contrast to the treatment of rainforest ancestry, shown within the Gondwana interpretations, particularly within ancient rainforest flora. Alas, all that talent, inspiration and productivity was overtaken by Ron’s passing, but what a noble and generous end to a life lived with passion for Australia and the people that live within and care for it.  Our memories of Ron are grand and heart-warming and he has left a lasting impression.

Invited to fill a vacant position as director to the board of Daintree Rainforest Foundation LTD, via resolution at the AGM Sunday 19th March 2023, Scott Gentle is a responsible person who grew up in the bush to become a career arborist with over 35-years’ experience.  Scott acquired managerial skills, taking on roles as a community facilitator, lobbyist and project manager.  Scott firmly believes in the necessity of human connection with land-management and perhaps nowhere more so than the Daintree Rainforest, one of those treasured places that simply must be protected.  Scott graciously accepted this nomination and was duly appointed by Special Resolution at the DRFL board meeting held at 3-PM Sunday 7th May 2023.

Invited to fill a board vacancy of Daintree Rainforest Foundation LTD, via management committee resolution at the board meeting held on Sunday 4th June 2023, Sandra Myerscough is a responsible person and a long-time lover of the Daintree Rainforest.  Having visited many times and becoming increasingly passionate about the protection of this World Heritage-listed area, Sandra began her professional life as a teacher but evolved into change-management across government and private enterprise, spending 6-years working with NFP Victorian disability organisations.  Currently working for the Victorian Department of Energy, Environment and Climate Action, Sandra graciously accepted this nomination and was duly appointed by Special Resolution at the DRFL board meeting held at 3-PM Sunday 30th June 2023.

With the board fulfilled and relevant authorities duly informed of all reportable changes, the formality of governance is constitutionally compliant and business properly directed.

On the 23rd May 2023, the board was notified that the ACNC had introduced Governance Standard 5, requiring charities to take reasonable steps to make sure that the following duties apply to Responsible People and that they follow them.

The duties can be summarised as follows:

  • to act with reasonable care and diligence
  • to act honestly and fairly in the best interests of the charity and for its charitable purposes
  • not to misuse their position or information they gain as a Responsible Person
  • to disclose conflicts of interest
  • to ensure that the financial affairs of the charity are managed responsibly, and
  • not to allow the charity to operate while it is insolvent.

Generally, the duties mean that Responsible People should act with standards of integrity and common sense.

Daintree Rainforest Camera Trap Project

As a part of its long-term Daintree Rainforest Camera Trap Project, 2023 accrued 1,696-cassowary sightings, 992-dingoes and 3,562-feral-pigs.  In terms of cumulative monthly averages, cassowary numbers increased by 29% to 109, dingo numbers grew by 105% to 40 and feral-pigs also increased by 90% to 156 sightings per month.  In comparison with 2022, cassowary numbers increased by 8%, whereas dingo sightings soared by 368% and feral-pigs also skyrocketed by 384%.

Population sightings across 2023:

Daintree Rainforest Camera Traps 2022

Overlay of population sightings between 2020, 2021, 2022 & 2023:

Daintree Rainforest Camera Traps 2022

Overlay of cassowary sightings between 2020, 2021, 2022 & 2023:

Daintree Rainforest Camera Traps 2022

Overlay of dingo sightings between 2020, 2021, 2022 & 2023:

Daintree Rainforest Camera Traps 2022

Overlay of dingo sightings between 2020, 2021, 2022 & 2023:

Daintree Rainforest Camera Traps 2022

Dingoes kill feral-pigs … but even more importantly, dingoes displace feral-pigs from areas where they are more vulnerable to dingo predation.  An elegant solution to the statutory eradication of ‘Wild Dogs’ in Queensland would be achieved through the expansion of the State’s Protected Area to 100% of the State, because ‘Wild Dogs’ instantly become ‘Dingoes’ – protected native fauna – within Queensland’s Protected Areas and the natural values of the entire State would also benefit from the protective provisions of the Nature Conservation Act 1992.

Feral-pigs adversely affect the federally declared Endangered Southern Cassowary (Casuarius casuarius johnsonii) through predation, habitat degradation, competition and disease transmission and in 2001, were formally listed as a key threatening process under section 168 of the EPBC Act in 2002. This listing initiated the development of the Threat abatement plan for predation, habitat degradation, competition and disease transmission by feral pigs (Sus scrofa) which was made in 2005 and reviewed in 2011 and again in 2017.  A Commonwealth agency must not take any action that contravenes a threat abatement plan and if a threat abatement plan applies outside Commonwealth areas in a particular State, the Commonwealth must seek the co‑operation of the State with a view to implementing the plan jointly to the extent to which the plan applies in the State.  Within the Wet Tropics World Heritage Area, the overarching goal of this threat abatement plan is to improve protection for Southern Cassowaries from feral pigs, but formal scientific opinion holds that as feral-pigs are so widely established, eradication from Australia is not possible with current resources and techniques and it is unlikely to be possible in the near future.

These Daintree Rainforest Camera Trap Reports remind recipient agencies that beneath a conservation blanket of unintended legislative protection, feral-pigs massively out-number Endangered Southern Cassowaries.  Dingoes are also shown to predate upon feral-pigs, but even more importantly, displace feral pigs through fear-of-predation from areas of cassowary habitat where they are more vulnerable to dingo attack.  Despite the value of dingoes over feral-pigs, these reports also remind readers that within the State of Queensland, the Dingo is a declared category 3, 4, 5 and 6 Restricted Invasive Animal under the Biosecurity Act 2014 and prohibited from being kept in the environment.

The growing threat of uncharitable charities within the Daintree Rainforest

Article 17 of the World Heritage Convention encourages States Parties to establish national, public and private foundations, whose purpose is to invite donations for the protection of the cultural and natural heritage values of inscribed World Heritage Areas.  However, over the past 20-years-or-so, several foundations have dumped a veritable tidal-wave of money onto the Daintree Coast property market, donated in the name of ‘saving the Daintree Rainforest’.  Whilst such expenditure may fall into alignment with the encouraging nature of Article 17, the uncharitable attrition of community lands and the denigration of rainforest residency as a fund-raising strategy, flies in the face of Article 5 of the World Heritage Convention, requiring effective and active protection, conservation and presentation of the World Heritage values as the central function in the life of the custodial community.

Such is the concern of these seemingly relentless anti-community environmental campaigns, that the Daintree Coast Community formed a representative association in response, called Daintree Coast 360 (DC360).  On 31st March 2023, DC360 wrote to Daintree Rainforest Foundation LTD expressing their defined concerns.  The Foundation responded:

Thank you for your introductory letter dated 31 March 2023, entitled “working together for better outcomes.” 

Daintree Rainforest Foundation was established on 27 April, 2016, approximately 4 years after application was made for Federal registration as an Environmental Organisation and an accredited charity with ACNC.  The extended delay reflected reluctance by government officers to acknowledge that people are legitimate parts of the environment.  

Our Constitution includes the role of people as part of their environment.  In contrast with almost every other charity purporting to ‘Save the Daintree Rainforest’ from thousands of kilometres to the south, Daintree Rainforest Foundation LTD operates exclusively within the Daintree World Heritage environment and constitutionally must perform its functions in a way that is consistent with the protection of inhabitant people, who are not only constituent parts of the legislated definition of ‘environment’, but they are also its sole caretakers and exclusive repository of local knowledge. 

Our last annual report is available here.  Daintree Rainforest Foundation Ltd supports DC360 and hereby makes application to become a corporate member. 

We invite members of DC360 to take out membership of Daintree Rainforest Foundation Ltd so that we can work together for a better future.  We thank you for your excellent representation of our community. 

The Foundation regards the environmental treasure known colloquially as ‘Daintree Rainforest’, of which the Daintree Coast Community owns and occupies a strategically important part, as deserving of the highest quality of protection and presentation via a world-class custodianship, so that the conservation economy relied upon for sustenance and prosperity, is as well-protected and nurtured as the income-earning environment.  This ideal represents the Daintree Coast Community’s highest and best-use, but it is being systematically undermined by uncharitable external activism and usurpation:

  • The people and communities of the Daintree Coast Community and the freehold properties within, are constituent parts of the legal definition of ‘environment’ and should not be disrespected, maligned or denigrated and particularly not as a strategic part of any charitable environmental fund-raising activities;
  • In accordance with Article 5 of the World Heritage Convention, effective and active protection, conservation and presentation of the World Heritage values across the Daintree Coast, must remain the central function in the life of the Daintree Coast Community;
  • The combination of vigilant and self-funded occupancy and freehold title constitutes a significant conservation asset that should be acknowledged, protected and utilised to the greatest advantage of Daintree Coast custodianship and identity;
  • Environmental charities far-removed from the Daintree Coast should not covet environmental treasures belonging to existing landowners, on the preposition that their extraordinary values require urgent saving, when those values are evidence of existing protection.

Intergovernmental environmental policy stipulates that environmental goals should be pursued in the most cost-effective way, by establishing incentive structures, including market mechanisms, which enable those best placed to maximise benefits and/or minimise costs to develop their own solutions and responses to environmental problems:

  • Funds accrued via charitable donations for ‘Saving the Daintree Rainforest’ should firstly support the landowners of the properties that legally possess the targeted environmental and cultural values;
  • Securing these conservation values with current landownership retained, is manifestly more cost-effective and protective of community integrity;
  • Incorporating unoccupied properties into adjacent occupied landholdings under conservation covenant, is manifestly more cost-effective and protective of community integrity;
  • Re-vegetating historically cleared areas on properties that are already owned and occupied is manifestly more cost-effective and protective of community integrity;
  • Where properties have been historically acquired for conservation, but the charity that holds the property title is absentee by thousands of kilometres, transferring the property to a registered charity with similar objects residing within the Daintree Coast is manifestly more cost-effective and protective of community integrity; &
  • Claims of creating ‘wildlife corridors’ should be dismissed, as the totality of the natural landscape provides unfettered wildlife movement regardless of the landowner’s name upon title.

If donations raised by remote charities for ‘Saving the Daintree Rainforest’ were expended in support of these environmentally beneficial principles, the Daintree Coast Community would be the strongest supporter.

Daintree Rainforest Fund:

Daintree Rainforest Camera Traps 2022

On behalf of the Foundation, I hereby thank the generous contributors to the Daintree Rainforest Fund and also the directors, for their enthusiasm, dedication and all the various contributions that have brought the Daintree Rainforest Foundation Ltd., successfully to its eighth Annual General Meeting.

Daintree Rainforest Foundation Ltd has been registered by the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission and successfully entered onto the Register of Environmental OrganisationsDonations made to the Daintree Rainforest Fund support Daintree Rainforest community custodianship and are eligible for a tax deduction under the Income Tax Assessment Act 1997.