Thursday, September 12, 2013


The following letter was sent to the editor of The Courier-Mail. It relates to an opinion article by Des Houghton reproduced below. It seems that no letters to the editor on this matter have so far been published. Sadly, it looks as though there is a determination to enforce political decisions to open up the region for development, seemingly irrespective of its World Heritage listing. One can only hope that the world can make our politicians see sense if they refuse to listen to anyone else.

The Editor,

The Courier-Mail



The Des Houghton article OPINION: Green deal upsets Springbrook community, (September 06, 2013), is a real worry with its apparent unquestioning support for brash claims based on broad assumptions. That ex-Minister Bates might be taken seriously is a concern. It shows how short memories are. Let me confirm that Ms Bates does not speak for many at Springbrook. Her local nickname highlights this fact and suggests that her actions could be somewhat snide and toxic. But what might one expect when Queensland appears to have a minister for National Parks who, according to reports, sees Springbrook's prime value in property with coastal views and a potential for tourist income? Has he not read the World Heritage statement? Does he know that the region is World Heritage listed as part of The Gondwana Rainforests of Australia? It shares its listing with other world wonders: Chartres cathedral; Uluru; the Taj Mahal, and many more uniquely special places.

The situation appears to highlight how negligent our state is on matters of World Heritage. In our seemingly insecure and uncertain country that is constantly seeking the praise of others from overseas so as to be confirmed as 'world class,' (“What do you think of us?”), it cannot be believed that our World Heritage area at Springbrook that is ‘world class’ is simply ignored, treated as a tourist destination like all others on the Gold Coast. The words ‘World Heritage’ become just another piece of promotional jargon, a mere commercial lure. Understanding the reasons for the rest of the world thinking that this place is so important, (for its biodiversity, not its picturesque landscape), leaves one flabbergasted that it can be so demeaned by politicians and journalists, and treated in such a sceptical and careless manner. We need to learn how other countries take pride in their World Heritage listings, how they look after their World Heritage listed places. The obligations imposed on the Federal and State government with such listings are regularly forgotten. This, of course, assumes that they were once known and understood. The Courier-Mail rarely mentions this serious failure; only opportunities for ‘eco’-commerce and ‘eco’-profit seem to loom large and are promoted in a confused way.

That Springbrook businesses are used to support the position put in the Houghton article is absurd. The history of businesses on Springbrook needs to be carefully reviewed if one wants to correctly understand matters. That some businesses might not flourish as envisaged, or have been found to be difficult to sell has nothing to do with any buy-back scheme. The buy-back is adding value to World Heritage place. How can it be seen as an impediment if ‘World Heritage’ place is such a desirable attraction? The buy-back is one of the best steps taken by a government to ensure that the State’s obligations in World Heritage matters can be fulfilled. That Ms Bates might mock others’ efforts to identify and protect threatened species is more than sad. It highlights not only a lack of knowledge, but also, it seems, spite. That her position might be seen as reasonable or acceptable is worse still. That The Courier-Mail can publish what looks like its supporting article shows just how far things have become muddied by political intents. If we want to maintain our World Heritage places, then these areas need dedication and effort to ensure their futures. The inspired decision to make a commitment to this special place by the previous government should only be praised and encouraged, not ridiculed or sniggered at, questioned or belittled. It needs support.

Strangely Queensland seems happy to keep blundering on while its World Heritage places fritter away into oblivion with the increasing emphasis on tourism and development. Even the iconic Great Barrier Reef apparently represents nothing worthwhile that might make it worthy of becoming a priority for protection. No, we naively tinker on the edge of the threat of an ‘endangered’ listing as if it might never happen, almost as a dare, and think nothing more of it. We should be humbled and embarrassed by the neglect. Our politicians and press need to understand matters with rigour and honesty rather than play their games. World Heritage means too much to be toyed with. To put it simply, there are many at Springbrook who support the buy-back and all that it stands for, as the whole of Australia should too. World Heritage involves more than parochial interest and political point scoring. The rest of the world understands and cares. Why is it nearly impossible for Queenslanders, Australians, to see its marvellous natural places - in this case enriched with a unique biodiversity - as anything other than something to be exploited for financial profit?

Our World Heritage needs care and protection. This will make us ‘world class.’ The buy-back was one great step towards ensuring that the highly fragmented Springbrook National Park might have a future by growing again in the same manner as it has done little by little over the years since it was first declared. At last, one thought, these unique regions might be buffered from the impacts of the cliché greed and ignorance of rapacious development that have impacts that are just too real; but alas, in spite of the rest of the world, Springbrook still seems to be at risk. Will it join the Great Barrier Reef on the endangered list? One should only have praise for what the previous government and the Australian Rainforest Conservation Society and others have done and are doing for this very special World Heritage place. The rest of the world is watching us. We must start taking our obligations much more seriously and stop making a mockery of our special places as an excuse to neglect them, for by holding them in such disregard we only make fools of ourselves.

Spence Jamieson

Springbrook/Wunburra Progress Association Incorporated

Sent 12-09-2013  11:09pm

Letter to the Editor
Your Letter was sent successfully and will be reviewed soon.
But will it be published?



OPINION: Green deal upsets Springbrook community
Des Houghton
September 06, 2013 9:00PM

THERE is something terribly wrong when a government doles out money and favours and keeps the details hidden.
It's even worse when it "misplaces" $1 million along the way, and nobody seems to notice. That's what happened when the Beattie Government spent $40.15 million buying back 45 properties at Springbrook in Gold Coast hinterland as part of a plan to add the land to the local national park, before handing control of many of them to the Australian Rainforest Conservation Society.
National Parks Minister Steve Dickson is considering his options after an independent legal report that said the government deal breached state procurement and probity requirements.
The report also found society president Aila Keto had a conflict of interest because she played a role advising the state and was on the government steering committee.
Member for Mudgeeraba Ros Bates, claimed Keto was using a house on one of the properties.
"We all know that Aila Keto from Australian Rainforest Conservation Society lives there rent-free, off the fat of the land of the taxpayers of Queensland," Bates told Parliament.
Keto admitted staying at Springbrook often, while she worked up to 100 hours a week on the project for no pay, but said her home was in Brisbane.

Dr Aila Keto is part of a world first study into conserving the environment by internetting trees. Picture: Adam Head Source: News Limited
Bates told Parliament the previous government's buyback scheme was a "grubby deal" she believed was an attempt to secure Green preferences for the ALP.
I might be wrong but I can't remember Beattie ever singing the praises of Springbrook's elusive lyrebird or the vulnerable spotted-tailed quoll.
o for now I'll cautiously accept claims that the buyback had little to do with the environment and a lot to do with securing Green preferences.
The noble aim of the buyback was to repair the ecosystem, restoring critical habitats to world heritage status. So far Keto's organisation has spent about $4 million on the Springbrook properties to bring them up to national park standards. Twenty-eight of them have already been absorbed into the national park and a further 11 are in recovery status under the control of the society.
Springbrook National Park, it has to be said, is one of the most glorious plateaus on the planet.
The buyback began in 2005 and was completed during Anna Bligh's term as premier.
Now it seems to have gone awry.
Bates and Springbrook residents say there appears to be very little improvement to the national park for such a large expenditure of public funds.
Locals are infuriated with revelations the society pays just $1 for 10 years' rent on two properties (with the option of another 10 years for another dollar!) which are used by members, caretakers and volunteers working on the project.
The controversy widened yesterday with the discovery of a confidential ministerial briefing paper saying that
$1 million of spending could not be accounted for between government departments..
The report said the expenditure of $40.15 million was made up of $38.4 million in acquisition costs with the rest spent on legal fees, consultants' fees, fencing and locks, cash grants to the rainforest society and costs for the demolition of buildings.
The necessary paperwork was passed back and forth between so many departments some costs were not properly accounted for.
"This leaves the amount of approximately $1 million expended by other (government) agencies prior to the transfer of the project to the Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service that is unable to be verified," it said.
"A professional and financial audit may be required to examine the totality of the expenditure."

Ros Bates with ribbons that represent extinct spiecies. Picture: Luke Marsden Source: News Limited
Bates told Parliament the community has suffered since many businesses were bought and closed.
"Springbrook may be a small village - and getting smaller all of the time and threatened with extinction - but its 650 residents have big hearts and they are fighting back," she told Parliament.
Around $40 million of taxpayers' money was supposedly spent on adding more rainforest land to the national park, she said.
"But it has not been used to buy rainforest land but to buy out land used for homes, farms and businesses," Bates said.
"To illustrate this madness, houses bought by the state, including historical homesteads, have since been demolished or left to slowly rot, waiting to be reclaimed by the rainforest."
Bates told the House of the struggle to restore forests and said Keto herself had said in an interview with the Gold Coast Bulletin: "It is impossible to know if complete restoration is possible.'' Bates added: "So why has all of this taxpayer money been spent when there is little chance of restoration? Why has this tiny community been singled out and sold out when it is not going to make much difference to the environment?"
Bates mocked a society display of metal posts with pink ribbons attached, each to represent an endangered species.
She says public land was now padlocked to keep people put and the removal of businesses had cost jobs.

Wayne Randall past president of Chamber of Commerce. Pic by Luke Marsden. Source: News Limited
Wayne Randall agrees. The owner of The Mouses House chalets was "shocked and disgusted" when he heard about the buyback.
"There was no consultation. No one asked the community if they were in favour of it,'' he says
He says he didn't know about the $1 rent deal until he read about it in The Courier-Mail.
"How can I compete with that?'' he says.
Nevertheless the community was sick of the "sad and sorry saga".
"It's a wonderful place for people to enjoy.
"We just want to tell the world about it, and move on,'' he says.


Monday, August 19, 2013


New England National Park

Australia has some beautiful bushland that simply astonishes, but there still lingers a doubt and distaste, a fear and hatred, for these native places. Their awe seems to generate much the same response as mountains did in Victorian times. It took Ruskin’s writing and enthusiasm to transform perceptions. Does Australia need a Ruskin?

There remains a distinct aggression displayed towards bushland, an attitude that sees the solution in cutting and clearing. There is little love here. Is this a relic of our colonial past? Does this dislike of natural wonder that sees only threat come from our convict past? – see


 The sign at Ulmarra in New South Wales tells the story. The path the public toilet is signed with a warning that trees are dangerous. Appropriately, the trees nearby have been trimmed. This attitude towards nature envisages only risk. Perhaps it is this same attitude that has shaped this public building too?

We need to learn from nature, not disregard it or treat it so brutally. It can change our thinking, and our architecture too. There is little doubt that this small Ulmarra dunny might have benefitted form leaving the trees to disguise its bland presence.


New England National Park
Posted by Picasa

Sunday, June 30, 2013


Taj Mahal


After considering the downturn in business opportunities in the region, the Indian Government has decided to lease the World Heritage-listed Taj Mahal for a low impact heritage-tourism opportunity. “This will stimulate growth and create jobs,” said the Heritage Minister.

The thought is that a developer could transform the Taj into a six-star green hotel complex. “Such a project would be the envy of the world. Everyone would want to become a Rajah for a day.”

“It would create one of the world’s greatest attractions,” added the Government spokesperson. While extreme, militant heritage groups have already expressed their concerns, the Government is determined to achieve its aim. “Business is critical for the area,” said the Minister. “It will reinvigorate the region and raise millions of rupees.”

. . . . .

While this farce is obviously contentiously stupid, it is puzzling how the reported plan of the Queensland Government to lease out portions of Springbrook National Park can be considered to be sensible. It is an alarming circumstance where World Heritage seems to mean nothing at all.

 Taj Mahal
Dear Editor,

Concerning Springbrook plans a new lease on life – Gold Coast Bulletin 29 June 2013

The one core message that is missing from your report on ‘a new lease on life’ for Springbrook is that Springbrook is a part of the World Heritage-listed Gondwana Rainforests of Australia; that this area of our country has been recognised by the world as being unique for its biodiversity:

‘the high number of rare and threatened rainforest species are of international significance for science and conservation.’

It is more than a local National Park. This oversight, and the use of emotive words like ‘splashed out’, ‘left to rot’ and ‘Springbrook’s struggling economy’ in relation to the previous State Government's buy-back, displays an unfortunate bias in this report.


The buy-back was a remarkable initiative that recognised the importance of this region for the world. The expansion of the National Park was, and remains critical for its future because Springbrook National Park is a fragmented holding with a long and threatened perimeter. The history of the park is one of a slow accumulation of bits and pieces of land over many years to get where we are today. The buy-back was a continuation of this history and has played an important part in protecting this unique ecosystem for the future. Continued development, even under ‘eco’ titles, will only continue to threaten the viability of this significant biodiversity.


Expanding National Park areas to accommodate this special characteristic can be seen, not as negligent waste as is implied in your article, but as a responsible action that fulfils the State’s obligation to properly manage its World Heritage regions. The State has no requirement to lease National Park areas, or to become involved in private commercial enterprises. There are already numerous properties that could be adapted for business purposes around Springbrook National Park without using any of our National Park reserves for these purposes. National Park areas form such a small portion of our State that they need care and continued protection rather than crass commercialisation. When properly managed, the National Park will always be there for everyone to enjoy responsibly, both now and in the future. It is not as though there is any necessity for our National Parks to be developed because of any deficit in other opportunities. These areas will only continue to be degraded if we choose to lease them out.


It is alarming that your report notes that those involved in assessing future possible uses of areas that have been carefully selected to be put aside for the future to protect our World Heritage place, were two politicians and, apparently, a real estate agent. Why was no one outside of politics and business, who might know about World Heritage matters and environmental sensitivities, involved? We are not dealing with a pretty piece of real estate. This is a World Heritage region, on the list with Uluru, the Ninjaloo Coast, the Taj Mahal, Chartres, Durham Castle and Cathedral, and more. These are places that are icons for the world that cares so much for these wonders that they have been identified as part of everyone’s heritage. They have not been listed for leasing. Why does World Heritage Springbrook get treated with such careless disdain? Is this government hell-bent on getting Springbrook on the endangered list beside the Great Barrier Reef?


Springbrook does not need ‘a new lease on life.’ It has a surplus of ancient life that needs protecting, not development. It stands today as one of the wonders of the world because of its rich biodiversity in flora and fauna. That any government might choose to ignore this is simply astonishing. To think that it is sensible to lease out any portion of what is blindly seen as 'property' available for commercial purposes is irresponsible in the extreme. The world must look on Australia with bewilderment when people act like a group of ignorant ‘cowboys’ keen to cash in on something that others - not just the cliché scary, militant green groups - hold in such astonishing high regard.

Spence Jamieson


Springbrook/Wunburra Progress Association Incorporated.


Thursday, June 6, 2013


To give her some credit, Laura Nelson did publish much of a dissenting article written in response to her report, Cableway to lift tourism says alliance that was published in the Gold Coast Sun, 28 May 2013: see

Instead of using the text as it was presented to her, she took pieces and wrapped them into a new story with a journalistic format: ‘Spence Jamieson said . . . etc.’ To be fair, she has managed to keep most of the spirit of the original, but there have been some changes in the process. In seeking out an electronic copy of the published material on the Internet, I was surprised that it could not be found. So the original newsprint has been scanned and included here. One wonders what system is used to make decisions about what is put onto the Internet and what is excluded.

In all of this juggling of words there has been some omissions, but two missing words stand out: ‘prior to.’ It may not seem much to have changed, but it is a critical point to understand. World Heritage matters must be attended to first, ‘prior to’ all of the issues that arise on Springbrook - every one of them. Without this rigourous commitment, the subtleties and sensitivities that the World Heritage listing identifies could easily be trampled, destroyed, in spite of everything that might get named ‘eco.’ The biodiversity of the region is of such importance and significance that it cannot be a secondary concern. We owe it to the world to be responsible for this important place, to care for it. This may mean choosing not to do things at Springbrook irrespective of all other ambitions for place and persons. We must remember that Springbrook shares an importance on the World Heritage list, along with Uluru, Chartres and other unique places on this planet: see -  Any compromise or 'adjustment' is just not an option.


Because of the difficulty in reading the scanned text, the Laura Nelson article of 6 June 2013 has been transcribed and published here as it appeared in the paper. This will allow it to be read in conjunction with the original text. One is always tempted to modify poor expression and punctuation, especially with its attribution, but the report has been reproduced complete, without any alterations.

Cableway’s ghost haunts Springbrook

The president of the Springbrook and Wunburra Progress Association (‘Incorporated’ should have been included here) has slammed any talk of a cableway in the area claiming it would be the same as planning a cableway up Uluru.
Spence Jamieson said it was astonishing that the ghost of a cableway still lingered at Springbrook.
“What constantly seems to be forgotten is the fact that Springbrook is part of a World Heritage-listed region and its special qualities are not a figment of anyone extremist’s imagination,” he said.
“A cableway at Springbrook would be like having a cableway at Uluru or Chartres Cathedral, near Paris.
The cathedral is a UNESCO World Heritage site, which is visited every year by Christian pilgrims from around the world.
“Other parts of the world which have the privilege of World Heritage sites manage them with pride, commitment and rigour.
“Just look at Uluru and Chartes,” Mr. Jamieson said.
“Springbrook is listed for its unique biodiversity, which requires special awareness, care and sensitivity as its complex ecology is not immediately obvious as a large rock or a building, even though the region might be just as picturesque.”
He said the impact of tourism on the plateau thus needed to be very carefully controlled.
“Dismissing green groups and individuals as radical borders on the juvenile. It’s clear that the rest of the world challenges this perception with our World Heritage listing.”
Mr. Jamieson said Springbrook had to be properly managed in line with the demands of the local population and any desire to broaden its tourism base while protecting the ecology of the area.
“if we press on with commonplace banalities and ignore the essence of this special region, it might soon have to be considered for an endangered listing, along with the Great Barrier Reef and that would be a very bad day,” he said.
In recent years, both Springbrook and Tamborine Mountain have been considered as options for a cableway, which protagonists believe would boost tourism in the region.

Saturday, June 1, 2013


The Australian on-line carried the following report by Greeg Roberts June 01, 2013 12:00AM -

Campbell Newman's LNP bulldozing pre-election promise illustrated with a phtoogrpah of Joh Bjelke-Petersen clearing land on his property in the 1940s: see -

MEASURES being implemented in Queensland by Premier Campbell Newman amount to the greatest rollback of environmental protection in Australian political history.

A small coterie of Nationals in the Liberal National Party government ministry, backed by the LNP's Nationals-dominated organisational wing, is overseeing the systematic dismantling of key environmental laws. Newman, supposedly a Liberal moderate, is turning a blind eye to the Nationals' escapades in the interests of maintaining LNP unity.

The passage of the Vegetation Management Framework Amendment Bill undermines Labor's tree-clearing laws, opening up two million hectares of bushland to the bulldozers. The consequences will include loss of biodiversity across the state, further shrinkage of remnant areas of native vegetation and increased greenhouse gas emissions.

Newman broke a pre-election promise to keep the laws. Vegetation once protected can now be cleared if land is deemed of "high agricultural value": an open-ended definition. The protection of regrowth vegetation has been dispensed with. It is easier to bulldoze bushland along watercourses. If landholders clear specially protected vegetation, the onus of proof is reversed so they can merely plead ignorance to avoid prosecution.

Before Labor's laws were enacted in 2006, Queensland had one of the world's highest land-clearing rates; those days are returning, although there is less bushland left to clear.
Natural Resources Minister Andrew Cripps boasted when foreshadowing the move that he was "taking an axe" to the laws. And so he did: most bushland remaining on private and leased land is up for grabs.

Cripps is one of three right-wing Nationals in the ministry - along with Agriculture Minister John McVeigh and State Development Minister and Deputy Premier Jeff Seeney - who have Newman's blessing for the new environmental agenda. McVeigh opened up 30,000ha a year of state forest for logging.

Logging was stopped by Labor as part of a shift to greater use of plantation timber. The "forest wars" that once were a feature of the political landscape are returning: conservationists are outraged by a logging licence granted over rainforest in Crediton State Forest near Mackay - the habitat of the endangered eungella honeyeater.

Seeney is implementing a development blueprint that includes the scrapping of wild river declarations on Cape York. The government aims to scuttle the proposed World Heritage Listing of Cape York, one of Australia's outstanding wilderness areas. Seeney has declared the area is open for mining and agricultural expansion.

His plans mirror those of Cape York Aboriginal powerbroker Noel Pearson, who argues that environmental protections stymie indigenous economic opportunities. His opponents say preserving wilderness affords greater opportunities. They point to benefits for indigenous communities that result from protecting World Heritage-listed Kakadu and Uluru-Kata Tjuta in the Northern Territory.

Murrandoo Yanner is among many indigenous leaders who back wild rivers; they are angered by Pearson's presumption to speak on their behalf.

Cape York aside, declarations of three southwest Queensland rivers in the Lake Eyre Basin are being amended to facilitate mining and agricultural development: guidelines provide "greater efficiencies for petroleum and gas companies". The move is opposed by an alliance of Aboriginal leaders and farmers. They fear the expansion of controversial coal-seam gas projects and cotton farming in a region that is too arid to sustain it, and that Lake Eyre will suffer from the diversion of water that in good years would flow into it.

Newman also is reviewing Labor's national park declarations, signalling that many will be revoked. The protection of national parks is supposed to be set in stone, otherwise there is no point in having them. Queensland's already small national park estate will contract, and in the process the sanctity of national parks is ditched.

Newman has bowed to the Nationals' demands to allow grazing in national parks - a move with potentially serious consequences for the fragile ecology of arid zone parks. He insists this will save the lives of starving cattle, but they will be slaughtered soon in abattoirs anyway; the objective of graziers is to fatten cattle to boost financial returns, not to save their lives.

A handful of Liberal moderates in the LNP cabinet harbour reservations about the rollback. However, LNP unity is Newman's paramount concern, at the price of caving into the Nationals on environmental (and a raft of social) policies.

History repeats itself: as with former state Coalition governments before the Liberals and Nationals merged in 2008, weak-kneed Liberals are browbeaten into submission by Nationals.

Newman's environmental agenda is more destructive than that of former National Party premier Joh Bjelke-Petersen, who at least protected national parks and launched initiatives to preserve the wilderness values of Cape York. Newman has signalled that 12.5million ha of land under government control is under review, with assurances only that "pristine" areas will be protected.

For all his defects, Bjelke-Petersen kept an environmental leash on extremists in the Nationals' ranks. Not so Newman. Now it is open slather.

On 27 May 2013, Campbell Neuman sent the follwoing letter to GECKO:

I think the hand written text reads: Just for the avoidance of doubt I made a commitment to retain the Vegetation Management Act - it has been retained and there will be no return to the bad old days of broad scale land clearing.

No worries? He may have kept the Act, but he has changed it! Is it just all too clever? Terms like 'the bad old days' and 'broad scale' are vague enough to cover anything.

Neuman has a habit of scribbling asides at the end of letters. Is it an attempt to clarify the spin that even he cannot believe: 'just for the avoidance of doubt'? I received correspondece from him with an enigmatic political theory scribbled after the signature that said something like:  'It's not about equity; it is democracy.'

Sunday, May 26, 2013


I refer to the article in the Gold Coast Sun of Thursday May 23, 2013, (page 11), by Laura Nelson, Cableway to lift tourism says alliance (see below):

It is astonishing that the ghost of the cableway still lingers in the same way as all of the ‘green’ clichés do. What constantly seems to be forgotten is that Springbrook is part of a World Heritage-listed region. Its special qualities are not a figment of any extremist’s imagination. A cableway at Springbrook would be like a cableway at Uluru or Chartres cathedral. Other parts of the world that have the privilege of managing World Heritage sites do so with pride, commitment and rigour: just look at Uluru and Chartres. Springbrook is listed for its unique biodiversity, a situation that requires a special awareness, care and sensitivity, as its complex ecology is not as immediately obvious as a large rock or a building, even though the region might be just as picturesque.

The impact of tourism on the plateau needs to be very carefully controlled. While businesses would always like to be more profitable, it seems self-indulgent to start blaming others for any shortcoming or failure. The dismissive designation of ‘green groups and individuals’ as being ‘radical’ borders on the juvenile, as it is clear that the rest of the world is challenging this perception with the World Heritage listing. That ‘this policy’, a strange description for apparent ‘green’ activism, is promoted as being ‘to the detriment of the local population’ emphasises the problem with platitudes.

World Heritage Springbrook must be properly managed prior to and in parallel with the demands of the ‘local population’ and any desire to broaden ‘its tourism base’ if the ecology is to be maintained and sustained. Pressing on with commonplace banalities and ignoring the essence of this special region might soon have it being considered for the endangered list along with the Great Barrier Reef. This would be a very sad day not only for Queensland, but also for the world.

Spence Jamieson
President Springbrook/Wunburra Progress Association Incorporated

On matters extreme and green, one wonders if promoters of the clichés might consider the ‘green’ cemetery and those who support it (see Green burial dug up again, page 3, below) as being ‘radical’ and disruptive? Then I suppose cemeteries are not great tourist attractions, even though the report notes that they do make a profit.


Laura Nelson  12:01am May 26, 2013

THE president of the new Gold Coast and Hinterland Business Alliance believes Mount Tamborine has the edge over Springbrook in the cableway stakes.

Bob Janssen said his alliance supported a cableway to the Hinterland and he said Mount Tamborine had the advantage because it already had extensive infrastructure.

"It has Gallery Walk, a lot of retail stores, other attractions and it is already an established tourism destination," he said.

"Springbrook also has immense potential and it could use something like a cableway but it doesn't have the existing infrastructure like Mount Tamborine has."

Mr Janssen said the Gold Coast needed a cableway to boost its tourism industry.

"We have all this opportunity for nature-based tourism in our region but it hasn't been effectively utilised," he said.

Mr Janssen said this applied particularly to Springbrook and he said local organisations had met recently to discuss this and other issues in the area.

"In an unprecedented move, the Springbrook Mountain Community Association, Communities for Sustainable Futures, Springbrook Rural Fire Brigade (SRF), Springbrook Chamber of Commerce and State Emergency Service met at an open forum," he said.

"The three-hour meeting revealed considerable common ground between the seemingly unrelated interests of these organisations and they appointed SRF commander Ray Cavanough to act as their spokesperson."

A key issue of concern was tourism and that lobbying by 'radical' green groups and individuals had curtailed the infrastructure necessary to support the industry, Mr Janssen said.

"This policy has been to the detriment of the local population and the city in broadening its tourism base," he said.

Another issue raised was the fire risk and public safety at Springbrook.


Andrew Potts  12:01am May 26, 2013

PLANS for a "green" cemetery are about to be dug up again after years of being buried deep within the Gold Coast City Council's budget.

City cemeteries turned a $183,000 profit this year according to budget documents, which revealed there had been a higher than usual number of burial plot purchases.

And the number is expected to grow.

Councillors have confirmed the green concept, which involves being buried in biodegradable, cardboard coffins without a specific headstone marker, was back on the agenda.

Mudgeeraba councillor Glenn Tozer said talks were under way with cemetery custodians about the future of burials on the Gold Coast.

"We are talking about it right now and analysing different trends in the funeral industry," he said.

"We will look at how green cemeteries come into it as well as different types of commemorative services in the future."

Mudgeeraba has previously been mooted as the site of the city's first environmentally friendly cemetery but its high cost has kept the project on the proverbial morgue slab.

Burial at a green cemetery is likely to cost between $2000 and $3000, similar to existing burial costs, but the added cost would be in paying for the hi-tech GPS plot-finder system that is used to locate burial plots.

Families will be given a copy of their loved ones' co-ordinates, which will be kept on record by the council and used to prevent multiple burials.

The city has eight public cemeteries including Southport Lawn cemetery on Olsen Ave, which is expected to reach capacity by 2016.

Cemeteries at Southport general, Nerang, Lower Coomera and Mudgeeraba are expected to continue operating for 20 years.

Angry tourists say they were left 'swinging in the breeze' after the Kuranda Skyrail attraction failed on Saturday

by: Peter Michael, Kate McKenna

From: The Sunday Mail (Qld)

March 24, 2013 12:00AM

ANGRY tourists on their return to the Skyrail terminal after a power cut kept them stranded in gondolas for more than four hours. PIC: Brian Cassey Source: The Courier-Mail

OPERATORS of the Skyrail cable-car attraction near Cairns have been criticised for leaving tourists "swinging in the breeze" for hours after power was cut to the popular tourist attraction.

Approximately 54 sightseers sat suspended along the line for more than four hours yesterday afternoon after a fallen tree damaged the electrical control equipment around 4.20pm Saturday and crippled the cableway.

One cableway was back online within an hour and the other with 54 stranded tourists came back on at 8.25pm.

Visibly upset passengers, some arguing loudly with Skyrail staff, trickled back through the main terminal from about 9.30pm.

US tourist Sue Tempero said it was a terrifying ordeal.

"It was scary," she said.

"We were stuck for five hours. It was cold, dark and it was raining hard. It was just like being stuck in a lift except you are hundred feet up in the air."

She criticised Skyrail for a lack of communication.

However, a pair of honeymooning Mexican tourists said they didn't mind the delay.

"We had a lot of time on our hands," said Cinthya Prieto

"We did what all couples on honeymoon do. "Why not?"

She said she now had a story to tell.

"It was an adventure. I trusted everything would be okay. We had a great time. I thought we might have had to sleep there. I could have stayed up there all night."

The Skyrail Rainforest Cableway experience is a 7.5km-long journey over ancient rainforest, Red Peak and Barron River Falls near Kuranda in the state's far north.

It is usually a 2.5 hour round trip but a fallen tree crashed the entire Skyrail control system about 4.20pm yesterday.

It left 54 tourists - including the lovestruck couple - stuck in their gondolas up to 40m high in places until the cable way came back online about 8.20pm last night.

For details on Springbrook see