Scenic Rim council says no to state government on land issue

FIRE RISK: Much of the land (not pictured here) is inaccessible and poses a fire risk.
FIRE RISK: Much of the land (not pictured here) is inaccessible and poses a fire risk.

SCENIC Rim Regional Council has voted to reject the state government's request to take over trusteeship of 92 hectares of reserve land on Tamborine Mountain.

Council said it would instead ask the Queensland Government to consider making a Tamborine Mountain reserve a national park due to its environmental values.

The Natural Resources, Mines and Energy department had requested that Scenic Rim council become trustee of the state government's 92-hectare site at Wongawallan Road due to potential fire risks and ongoing maintenance costs to the community.

Scenic Rim mayor Greg Christensen said the land was more suitable as a national park and accepting trusteeship of the reserve would expose council to increased financial risks and liabilities associated with fire management and ongoing maintenance costs.

"The land has significant vegetation and natural habitat and adjoins large areas of undeveloped land," he said.

"It also adjoins the Panorama Point section of the Tamborine National Park and provides an ideal conservation area and should be considered for national park status."

Scenic Rim LNP MP Jon Krause said the trusteeship request was typical of the Labor government.

"This is how this Labor government operates - blame the federal government when things go wrong, bask in self-praise when things work out well and duck-shove responsibility for things they don't want or care enough to do," he said.

"I've previously asked the government to add some land on Tamborine Mountain - the lot that was proposed for a mountain biking campsite - to the National Park estate, and they weren't interested.

"This is all about priorities for the Queensland government. Just recently, I was told by a National Park ranger that they are more stretched than ever in having people on the ground to look after our National Park estate, let alone any more that might be added.

"Labor can find billions for cross river rail, $100 million for yet another footbridge across the Brisbane River at North Quay, and yet when it comes to actually doing the job properly with things like National Parks, they go missing in action."

A spokesperson for the Department of Environment and Science said the land parcel in question was surrounded by urban development established under the local authority's town planning schemes.

"It does not contain any significant environmental values that are not already comprehensively and adequately represented in Queensland's protected area system, so it is not a suitable proposition for addition to the protected area estate," he said.

"QPWS has no record of a national park ranger commenting to a local MP about staffing issues."

Cr Christensen said the reserve included a mix of rainforest in gully areas and sclerophyll forest in several dry ridges, which suggested a history of bushfire.

He said the property also contained substantial fuel loads and, with some extremely steep areas with an incline of more than 20 degrees, there is an increased risk of an intense bushfire.

"To compound this problem, the site contains relatively no access or ability to create asset protection zones, bushfire trails, fuel management zones and other infrastructure, limiting fire management to regular fuel reduction burns," Cr Christensen said.

"Council recognises the importance of this area as a conservation zone however believes this would be best managed as a national park.

"Without the state government stepping up, we would be taking on a very high risk precinct without any commitment from the state for resourcing and Council simply does not have the budget to adequately manage this property without additional funding."

Division 1 Councillor Nigel Waistell said he was happy with the decision.

"I am pleased that my council colleagues strongly share the view that the land does have significant ecological value and that it should be recognised and allocated for conservation and protection," he said.

A spokesperson for DNRME said the department had yet to hear back from council.

"DNRME invited Scenic Rim Regional Council to accept trusteeship of Lot 101 on Plan SP302076 land, and we are yet to receive a formal response," he said.

"In the event that SRRC formally refuse to accept trusteeship, DNRME will decide appropriate tenure in accordance with Section 16 of Land Act 1994 to determine the most appropriate tenure arrangement to manage the site going forward."