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Powell Media Release – Minister meets Cape York communities (3 July 2012)

Consultation with Indigenous communities, Cape York organisations and other groups has commenced to help shape the Cape York Bioregion Management Plan, fulfilling a commitment from the Newman Government First 100 Days Action Plan.

Minister for Environment and Heritage Protection Andrew Powell said the Bioregion Management Plan will replace Wild River declarations on Cape York, ensuring the Cape’s iconic natural areas and areas of high conservation value are properly protected, balanced with appropriate economic development.

“The development of the Bioregion Management Plan is part of the Newman Government’s plan to ensure Indigenous communities have a bigger say in their economic development,” Mr Powell said.

“Previous plans surrounding the Cape have focused on the constructed landscape. This is the first time plans have been focused on the natural environment.”

Mr Powell stressed the importance of receiving feedback as the Cape York Bioregion Management Plan is developed.

“It is my priority to engage with traditional owners, pastoralists, the mining and tourism industries and environmental groups early on in this process and throughout the development of the Bioregion Management Plan,” he said.

“We want to meet people face to face and get constructive feedback on where they see economic opportunities and which areas they believe need protection.

“The Government wants to ensure there are appropriate development prospects for indigenous communities and pastoralists and we want to know the aspirations of the community in relation to known opportunities and other suitable areas.”

Mr Powell said feedback will be sought on:

  • Long term infrastructure needs to support growth and economic opportunities in Cape York;
  • The identification and protection of pristine waterways and areas of high cultural and conservation value;
  • Water allocation, management and use;
  • Natural resource management;
  • Potential World Heritage area boundaries and suitable management arrangements for a possible future Cape York World Heritage Area;
  • Opportunities and constraints relating to existing land tenure; and
  • Opportunities where the Government can cut red tape.

“I have continually said I will work with my colleagues and the community to balance economic development and environmental protection and I am looking forward to working with the Cape York to deliver both these outcomes in this unique part of the world,” he said.

ENDS-

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