The mendacity of successive Labor governments knows no racial bounds.
In a hard hitting address to the Annual Property Rights Australia meeting held in Rockhampton on
Saturday Noel Pearson gave one example after another of what he described as “shameless lying” by
the Beattie and Bligh governments.
Aboriginals and pastoralists across northern Queensland, the channel country and now the Northern
Territory are facing Wild River declarations which do not allow development closer than one kilometre
to river channels and tributaries.
Mr Pearson told us that in a phone hook-up with the government Premier Beattie confessed he had no
idea of the extensive effect of a Wild River declaration and promised to wind back the exclusion zone.
This never happened.
Each successive election “another sliver” has been taken to obtain Wilderness Society support and
“garner green votes in the south east corner.” After this latest election Mr Pearson was shocked
because “80 to 90% of the useful land has been turned into a virtual National Park. There is no capacity
To justify this, the Wilderness Society “conjures up threats – mining, cattle, and horticulture. They are
shameless in their capacity to lie. These restrictions preclude any kind of aquaculture. In Australia we
have solved the environmental problems of aquaculture. Our communities are close to markets. Why
completely cut off that pathway? There are no processes hurting the environment yet there is no one in
government to bat for the future. This applies particularly to Labor in Brisbane. They have a horizon of
6 to 8 years at the most. This amazes me. Surely the first duty of government is to preserve opportunity
for future generations.”
“Environmental activists now hold key bureaucratic positions. At my own community of Hopevale, Mal
Brough, in return for welfare reform, offered money for new homes. We have the funds, it is freehold
land, but we have made no progress. We are not allowed to clear the trees to build the houses.
Ordinary people cannot afford the costs of fighting the government.”
Mr Pearson believes “Green Plants” in government should not remain anonymous.
“We have done some testing of what people in the south east corner think. There is great ignorance.
Most people are supportive of a balanced approach. Even those who vote Green are horrified that this
approach interferes with livelihoods.”
He believes the Wilderness Society runs DERM, the department that manages resources. He asked the
then minister Craig Wallace for an extension of time on something and his reply was “If you can get the
Wilderness Society to agree.” This happened more than once.
He stated that he was not on top of the Vegetation Management Act on pastoralists’ freehold title but
was horrified at the unilateral taking of freehold rights. “Are we a socialist state?? I have not closely
Debate about a Bill of Rights but if we don’t have the right to property what have we? What does
freehold mean? Where are the rights of the individual?
“We have to get smart. I sympathise with the huge grief that the prosecutions have caused PRA
members. We must have the right to property. The light has only gone on in my head recently. We are
in a fragile position. It has hurt to see our work in the cape trashed. Conservationists have taken over
the ownership of motherhood and apple pie. I am devastated by their use of the word WILD. It works
for them. We have to take back ownership of conservation. There are huge ramifications for fishing and
other industries. We need balance. This is the beginning of our campaign.”
Paul Zlotkowski from the Northern Territory Cattlemen’s Association attended the meeting to get up to
speed on Wild Rivers as it is now being mooted for NT waterways.
Noel Pearson was given a standing ovation.