Camera Traps – July 2022 accrued 76-cassowaries, 7-dingoes and 58-feral pigs. Against the cumulative monthly average, cassowary numbers dropped by 23%, dingoes fell by 85% and feral-pigs decreased by 49%. Against July 2021, cassowary numbers were 6%-down, dingoes fell by 64% and feral-pig numbers slightly rose by a mere 2%.
Image highlights from July 2022
Progress of the 2022 cassowary chicks
Cheryl from Crinkle Cut
Mating cassowaries – Delilah & Taiga
DAINTREE FERRY ADVISORY COMMITTEE
AT THE ORDINARY COUNCIL MEETING OF THE DOUGLAS SHIRE COUNCIL, HELD ON TUESDAY, 28 SEPTEMBER 2021
Council resolved to:
approve the establishment of a Daintree Ferry Advisory Committee;
prepare a Terms of Reference to provide ongoing governance over Committee management and operations; and that the Terms of Reference be listed on the agenda of a future Council Meeting for approval; and
delegates authority under section 257 of the Local Government Act 2009 to the Chief Executive Officer to finalise any and all matters associated with the establishment of the Daintree Ferry Advisory Group.
However, AT THE ORDINARY COUNCIL MEETING OF THE DOUGLAS SHIRE COUNCIL, HELD ON TUESDAY, 31 MAY 2022
The Motion for Council to:
adopt the Daintree Ferry Advisory Committee Terms of Reference;
delegate authority under s 257 of the Local Government Act 2009 to the Chief Executive Officer to undertake an Expression of Interest Process for the Daintree Ferry Advisory Committee Membership; and
delegate authority under s 257 of the Local Government Act 2009 to the Chief Executive Officer to finalise any minor administrative adjustments to the Daintree Ferry Advisory Committee Terms of Reference.
… was LOST.
On a point of order, the loss of the latter motion does not automatically rescind the first. It simply means that the Terms Of Reference to provide ongoing governance over Committee management and operations were not supported. The former motion, which is not only sensible but also long-overdue, stands.
DAINTREE FERRY CROSSING SOLUTION
Council considered Agenda item 5.3 – Daintree Ferry Crossing Solutions at the Ordinary Council meeting held on Tuesday, 26 July 2022. For its far-reaching triple-bottom-line consequences, the importance of Council’s deliberations upon this matter cannot be overstated. It was particularly concerning, however, that the report omitted another reasonable alternative that better meets the identified objectives and should have been included for full and proper consideration:
Build a similar sized vessel to the current ferry (with state-of-the-art safety and environmental improvements) but with significant improvement in tourism management, to maximise the quality of tourism into this treasured destination.
The most comprehensive technical report advising Council decision-making across the Daintree Ferry, is the Daintree Futures Study (DFS) 2000, which recommended:
The best future for the Daintree is not for it to become just another part of Australia’s semi-urban sprawl but for it to be a unique Rainforest Community: to protect its unique natural values as a base for an economy and a community. This is an ecologically, socially and economically sustainable solution.
One of three key objectives of the DFS was provision of an appropriate management regime and infrastructure to support a high-quality tourism industry which maximises returns to the local community. The DFS recommended the establishment of a Daintree Land Trust under Queensland statute, to empower the community in its role of preserving and managing the Daintree for its World Heritage Values & be a model of management which will be an example for the world in the management of a sensitive area for conservation and tourism. The Trust would have a Board of Trustees consisting of local residents and businesses, Indigenous Native Title holders, Douglas Shire Council, Commonwealth Government & Queensland Government.
The key issues at the ferry are that its pricing structure and management have a substantial effect on the convenience and cost of access for local-residents and for the different categories of tourists. Varying prices and management can influence the equity to local-residents and businesses and also provide a means of influencing visitation types. A significant issue of competitive equity exists between the local community’s provision and maintenance of nature-based tourism facilities and those on public lands. Accordingly, the DFS recommended that there is a need to adjust ferry charges to achieve a better balance between the costs paid by public-site users and those who visit private destinations.
Significantly reducing the number of non-contributing, cluttering and dissatisfied short-term day-visitors could easily relieve the need for priority lanes altogether. Increasing visitor-fees on the ferry for tourists that have not pre-booked onto an accepted threshold of conservation/ecotourism contribution within the destination, on the proviso that those fees go to the Daintree Land Trust for conservation and ecotourism services, whilst providing pre-booked travellers with visitor-fee relief and priority access onto the ferry, the style of tourism will swiftly change towards world’s best practice. Congestion will be ameliorated. Visitor experience will be optimised and the custodial community will prosper through world-leading custodial excellence.
Council resolved to defer the matter to its next ordinary general meeting.
THOU SHALT NOT COVET
“Thou shalt not covet” is a widely understood moral imperative that prevents us from striving to unjustly want what is not ours and rather belongs to another.
Around 27-years-ago, agents of the QLD Government wrote to Daintree Rainforest landholders seeking expressions of interest to sell freehold property for addition to National Park. One enthusiastic landholder offered to sell their 145-acre rainforest property, but the State offered only $200,000. The landowner argued that the property’s timber-resource was worth more than $800,000 alone. The State countered it had no intention of buying the property to log it, but the landholder explained, that if the State apportioned no value to the timber resource, then it would have nothing to complain about if the timber was removed. The Minister for Environment & Heritage issued an Interim Conservation Order, taking the landholder to court, but the court ruled in favour of the landowner, as the State had failed to take the timber value into account of the property’s total value. Tragically, the only way the landholder could assert their legal rights was through deliberate damage to the environment that they loved. Nevertheless, a widely respected member of the tropical north Queensland scientific community maliciously accused the landowner of greed and causing an entire species of plant to become extinction, despite the exceedingly large amount of surrounding rainforest that remained unscrutinised for evidence of any other survivors.
The Rainforest 4 Foundation has recently published two weblog posts that claim New residential development in the Daintree threatens the existence of species& New species likely lost to development in the Daintree. Misusing scientific respectability to denigrate landholders and enrage potential donors into greater financial action, is particularly offensive to the land-owners in the firing-line of such an uncharitable salvo. Whilst there is no disputing the outstanding values of the oldest rainforest in the world, if a particular species happens to be found on the brink of extinction and public concern is enthralled to a throw large amount of money at that vulnerable species’ protection, it should rightfully go to the owner of the property with the existing responsibility for environmental protection; NOT to the covetous organisation residing some 2000-KM to the south, seeking other peoples’ money to finance its covetousness.