Federal Government Considering Legal Action over False Cape Abandonment

Community video from YouTube video illustrating the scale of the erosion.

Article source : EDO Queensland Bulletin http://www.edo.org.au/edoqld/

False Cape remains an abandoned mess of a worksite since work stopped in early 2008 due to the developer’s financial constraints. Local Save False Cape campaigners have collected photo and video evidence showing the failure of erosion and sediment control measures on the site, adjacent to the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park. This evidence was passed on to the federal Environment Department, who inspected the site in March and commissioned an expert in erosion and sediment control to assess the adequacy of the measures and what was required to stabilise the site for the upcoming wet season. The Department have refused to release the report but have recently advised that the Minister is considering taking action under the EPBC Act, after the developer refused to voluntarily fix the failed erosion and sediment control measures. Under the Act, the federal Environment Minister may revoke or suspend the approval or prosecute for breach of approval conditions.

Cairns Regional Council recently allowed a formal deputation from local Save False Cape campaigners to address their concerns that development approval conditions have not been complied with, and to recommended Council action. Council has advised that they are also considering all of their options in relation to the future of the development. Under Queensland planning laws, the Council could similarly revoke or suspend the approval or prosecute the developer for approval condition breaches.

Sadly the Queensland State Government has shown almost no interest in the environmental degradation that has been, and continues to be, occurring on site or in neighbouring waters of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park and World Heritage Area. Despite the local community conducting the bulk of monitoring of the site, they remain largely in the dark as to the results of assessments of compliance with approval conditions, and are left to simply trust that proper independent assessments have been undertaken and that all appropriate action will be taken to ensure that no further environmental harm is caused as a result of this controversial development.

EDO-NQ urges the local Council, the federal government and the state government to take action to remediate the site and to prosecute the developer for failing to comply with approval conditions regarding erosion and sediment control, of crucial importance in this sensitive area.

Download the entire bulletin here.

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