Camera Traps – February 2024 accrued 118-cassowary sightings, 27-dingoes and 200-feral pigs.  Against the cumulative monthly average, cassowary numbers rose by 8%, dingoes decreased by 33% and feral-pig numbers grew by 27%.  Against February 2023, cassowaries were 65% fewer, dingo numbers fell by 73% and feral-pigs rose by 35%.

Image highlights from February 2023

Environmental challenges within the Daintree Rainforest …

Curiosity got the better of this young dingo, subjecting the block attached to the tree-trunk with a thorough inquisition.

Cyclone recovery – a matter of national environmental significance!

The environment between the Daintree and Bloomfield Rivers is indisputably a Matter of National Environmental Significance, the safeguarding and accommodating of which is the responsibility of the Commonwealth Government.  National environmental matters include World Heritage areas (covering some 96% of the area); National Heritage Areas, which includes the same area for both Natural and Aboriginal Cultural Heritage and listed threatened species and ecological communities, which includes everything else within the area that exists across World Heritage boundaries.

The Commonwealth must ensure that international obligations relating to the environment are met by Australia and that State practices do not result in significant adverse effects in relation to the environment or the adjoining Great Barrier Reef.  People and communities are integral parts of the legal definition of ‘environment’ and are therefore implicitly matters of national environmental significance and being a defined responsibility under the World Heritage Convention, presentation and its derived conservation economies, are also Matters of National Environmental Significance, requiring Commonwealth protection from adverse impacts from State and Local Government practices.

The catastrophic collapse of roads between the Daintree and Bloomfield Rivers has caused terrible disruption to Australia’s World Heritage responsibilities in terms of accessibility and conservation economies, but thus far, some 89-days on, little has been done to resolve these disastrous degradations and it appears the entire matter has been left to local government without any of the resources or authorities that would allow for Matters of National Environmental Significance to be provided with the quality of recovery and restitution that is required under International Convention and National statutory obligation.

Coincidentally, candidates for the up-coming Local Government election on the 16th March 2024, presented themselves to members of the Daintree Rainforest community yesterday afternoon and many addressed the issues of Cyclone damage throughout the shire.  All candidates were disappointingly silent on Matters of National Environmental Significance and the unambiguous authority of the Commonwealth Government in addressing such matters. Indeed, as an attendee, I was left wondering whether the Local Government had referred the matter to the Federal Minister at all?

One outspoken local made an impassioned appeal to the collection of candidates, to not overlook ‘buy-back’, which allegedly made possible the quality of life enjoyed by local custodians of their privately-held rainforest properties.  I understood the inference of the rather forcefully put appeal, but on a point of clarification, it was not ‘buy-back’ that allowed for private-properties to be purchased, occupied and cared for; that was the Bjelke-Petersen-led Queensland Government (c. 1984), in acquiescence of the Southedge-Daintree Pastoral Company’s proposal to to create a rainforest custodial community sustained by nature-based tourism, by sub-dividing some 20 to 30-rural properties into 1,136 predominantly 1-hectare allotments.

‘Buy-back’ is an objectionable term used by political organisations to acquire privately-held properties, whilst broadcasting they are being ‘saved’, whereas privately-held properties from the very same registered sub-division that are not acquired by these political groups, are implicitly at risk of environmental calamity.  I must admit that fully-developing 1,136 predominantly 1-hectare blocks with all the usual accoutrements of residential settlement, would not only harm the goose-that-laid-the-golden-egg, it could very well kill it outright, but in pursuit of amelioration of potential residential harm, the ever-diminishing custodial community needed to have been the principle beneficiary of implementing its own solution to the environmental problems of potential over-development.  This, however, was never supported, whilst ‘buy-back’ denigrated the custodial community as a fund-raising call-to-action and diminished custodial integrity with absentee landlords.

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

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