Government documents cast doubt on guarantees of continued timber supplies and public access to forests.
Government documents cast doubt on guarantees of continued timber supplies and public access to forests. Craig Warhurst

Forestry sale raises access fears

AFTER months of misleading statements about the upcoming sale of Gympie Region forestry assets, the State Government now appears to have been quietly undermining its own guarantees on continuing recreational access to forestry land.

After insisting that any sale would include conditions to protect recreational use, including walking, cycling, horse riding, motorcycling, car rallies, photography or filming, it has emerged that the Government has been actively promoting the land not only for sale but for non-forest redevelopment.

“Concrete jungles,” Opposition Shadow Natural Resources Minister Jeff Seeney said this week, as he produced evidence of the government’s push to sell the land under terms which could see it permanently cleared and redeveloped for residential, commercial and industrial property projects.

Mr Seeney produced a prospectus extract, not readily available to the public, which highlights the benefits to a purchaser of redeveloping the land for “non-timber income.”

“Over a million houses could be built on this land.

“This means the current green forests could soon become concrete jungles, especially as some of this land is in the highly prized corridor between Caboolture and Gympie, in close proximity to the beaches and the Bruce Highway,” he said.

On June 2 last year, Premier Anna Bligh said the government would retain ownership of the land and a condition of sale will be that recreation in state plantation forests will continue.

As recently as November last year, Treasurer Andrew Fraser reiterated that the government has already moved to ensure the public retains the access rights to forestry land they currently enjoy.

Mr Seeney said forestry access obviously would cease if the forestry ceased to exist.

Gympie Times


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