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14 May 2014

Qld Government declares welcome rethink of Cape York Regional Planning process.

Today’s announcement by the Deputy Premier Jeff Seeney to rethink the Cape York regional planning process is welcomed by planning committee members Australian Conservation Foundation (ACF) and the Cairns and Far North Environment Centre (CAFNEC).
The introduction of the Regional Planning Interests Act on June 2 this year will see the existing Wild River declarations of the Wenlock, Lockhart, Archer and Stewart River basins become the first Strategic Environmental Areas on Cape York, alongside the Steve Irwin Reserve.
Apart from protecting the Steve Irwin Reserve, the Queensland Government is not offering any greater protection for Cape York Peninsula’s unique natural and cultural values at this stage.

“It will be imperative that the regulatory framework underpinning these SEAs will protect the natural and cultural values of the region, and the communities and industries that rely on them including tourism and fishing,” said Angelika Ziehrl, Director, Cairns and Far North Environment Centre.
“There will be an ongoing need to ensure that these discussions are at a grassroots level with Traditional Owners.
“At the fourth Regional Planning Committee meeting today, the Government made a commitment to continue working with the Cape York community to ensure the plan is more inclusive and consultative,” said ACF Northern Australia Program Officer Andrew Picone.
“The Queensland Government has also made a commitment to continue expanding the Strategic Environmental Areas in consultation with Traditional owners and landholders on a case by case basis.
“Cape York’s communities and Traditional Owners have put forward a strong case for greater recognition of their own aspirations for their land and it appears the Queensland Government have taken note.
“The Queensland Government now needs to deliver on its promise to fix the planning process and adequately resource ground-up consultation,” said Picone.
Please contact Andrew Picone on 0457 798 359 or Angelika Ziehrl on 0418 708 343 for comment.

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