Traditional owners on Queensland’s Cape York say they’re disappointed they weren’t consulted over a major 20-year plan for the peninsula.
Traditional owners on Queensland’s Cape York say they need more time to consider the government’s 20-year plan for the peninsula.
About 10 indigenous groups say they want the March 25 deadline for submissions on the Cape York regional plan extended because of the significance of the plan.
The draft, released in November, outlines future land use for the region – mapping areas where development may be considered and areas of high environmental value.
Laura traditional owner Desmond Tayley says indigenous land owners, who will be affected most by the land use changes, weren’t consulted before the draft was drawn up.
“This could be one of the biggest plans that affects how we do business on Cape York,” he told AAP on Friday.
“The cultural heritage aspects are not really recognised in this plan … the traditional owners and land owners have never really been consulted.”
Mr Tayley says although the government spoke with Cape York councils, this didn’t necessarily mean traditional owners were consulted.
He also wants similar protections offered to the Steve Irwin Wildlife Reserve, where mining has been banned, extended to include rock art sites in and around Laura.
Traditional owners from Western Yalanji, Mapoon, Pormpuraaw, Archer Point, Olkola, Lockhardt River, Chuula, Batavia Downs and the Wenlock Catchment Group have also expressed concern.
Deputy Premier Jeff Seeney says the draft plan was developed in close consultation with traditional owners and discussions will extend beyond the official March 25 deadline.
“The Queensland government is prepared to take as long as is necessary to get this plan right,” he said in a statement.
“I can reassure communities on the Cape that all their submissions and comments will be considered in finalisation of the plan.”
The 28 members of the Cape York Regional Planning Committee includes MPs, mayors, green groups and resource sector representatives.
The government has said the plan encourages economic growth, while green groups say it opens up vast areas of the cape to mining.