Daintree Rainforest and Cooper Creek Wilderness have pursued a world-class, genuine ecotourism way above the advanced threshold of international accreditation schemes, signifying our ongoing commitment to protecting, conserving and presenting the natural and cultural values of our land for past, present and future generations.
Long recognised as Ecotourism Leaders through our years of accredited commitment, we are wholly funded through an enduring ecotourism partnership with ethical travellers who pay the full life-cycle costs of conserving our portion of the world’s oldest rainforest.
We suggest that management and conservation of the land is best achieved by the people who live upon it and that government needs to recognise and support this more cost-effective arrangement. Indigenous Australians maintained their custodial relationships with the land as part of the natural environment for tens of thousands of years. It is because of their diligence and accumulated wisdom that Cooper Creek Wilderness is able to present pristine rainforest today and it is because of our 25-year continuous habitation in the rainforest that we have discovered new information about the rainforest and its multitude of inhabitants.
Among the changes that could support sustainability, Queensland’s Land Valuation Act 2010 requires amendment to properly incorporate ‘Conservation’ as an essential basic responsibility of land ownership. Lands, to the extent that they are legislatively declared for conservation purposes, should be supported through tax relief. It is incongruous for government to legislate for lands to be conserved and then increase their unimproved capital value for taxation purposes, because the property can no longer generate income through extractive harvesting of natural resources. Also, natural re-vegetation that allows ecosystems to resume cleared land ought to be recognised as an ecological improvement to the land and allocated payments as compensation for replenishment of previously degraded land.
The principles of ‘user’ and ‘polluter’ pays for the full life cycle cost of restoring the environment’, needs to be legislated with a compliance requirement as a matter of urgency. The Intergovernmental Agreement on the Environment 1992 was agreed to and signed by all Australian State Premiers and its Prime Minster, and left to effectively languish because of the compliance omission, allowing Australia’s cultural momentum to continue to favour the illusion of short-term economic gain over long-term sustainability.
While our taxes are supporting the unfair trading practices that emanate from this historic malpractice, Australia undermines the viability of sustainable conservation and future generations are left with the legacy of an ever-increasing environmental debt.