Cape York Regional Plan – have your say!

Cape Melville Foxtail Palms

Foxtail palms, endemic to Cape Melville, Cape York Peninsula Photo by Kerry Trapnell

The Queensland Government has just release the draft Cape York Regional Plan. Under the current draft the there is a proposal to ban open cut and strip mining across 32% of the region in zones designated as Strategic Environmental Areas(in addition to the 15% of existing National Park). This has the potential to protect the Mitchel River Delta, Steve Irwin Wildlife Reserve, Shelburne Bay and many other areas. However, while thisis potentially a great win, there is a strong backlash from the mining and other sectors and is by no means safe.

The downside is that the remaining 53% of the region, the General Use Areas, is ‘open for business’ with reduced environmental regulation and a stated policy objective to “facilitate economic growth over biodiversity…”. This is unacceptable.

As with most things the devil is in the detail and, at the time of Ecotone going print, we are still digesting the draft plan. Please visit our website for the most up-to-date information.

CAFNEC will be making a detailed submission in response to this plan. The Draft Regional Plan can be found here:



  • Visit CAFNEC’s website or call for more information,
  • Make a submission to the Deputy Premier, Jeff Seeney, Minister for State Development, Infrastructure and Planning calling for
    • Retention of the ban on open cut and strip mining,
    • Increasing the Strategic Environmental Areas
    • Maintaining rigorous environmental assessment and approvals processes in General Use Areas,
  • Recognise the national and international significance of the region and the economic opportunity of World Heritage.

Check our website for further advise on your submission, including recommendations.



IN BRIEF: National Park transfers

On the 27 November 2013, the Queensland Government returned of over 354,000 hectares of national park on Cape York Peninsula to its Traditional Owners


Cape Melville, Flinders and Howick Group of Islands, Jack River, Melsonby (Gaarraay), Starcke and Mount Webb National Parks found north of Cooktown will change tenure to become Aboriginal owned national parks.


The Queensland Government will enter into joint management agreements with both the Cape Melville, Flinders & Howick Islands Aboriginal Corporation and the BuubuGujin Aboriginal Corporation for their respective areas.


Jack River, Starcke and Mount Webb will become the Muundhi, JuunjuDaarrbaNhirrpan and Daarba National Parks (Cape York Peninsula Aboriginal Land) respectively.