Excerpt from article in The Australian newspaper Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Picture: Lyndon Mechielsen. Story: Greg Roberts


Amid calls for harsher penalties for land clearing, graziers chaff at the growing restrictions, writes Greg Roberts Kenilworth Bluff rises from the green dairy pastures of the Mary River Valley, an eye catching landmark in the hinterland of the bustling Queensland tourist haven of Noosa. Sunshine Coast Quarries mines the heavily forested mountain for road base to supply one of the nation’s fastest growing urban areas.

When locals lodged an official complaint last year alleging the quarry had illegally bulldozed a forested ridge that was meant to act as a buffer between the mine and residents, quarry manager Tom Boss was furious. Boss vowed at the time that in retaliation, he would turn the mountain into the “biggest eyesore ever”.

The locals’ complaint was upheld and the company was fined $1500, a tiny fraction of the value of the resource it had acquired from illegally clearing the ridge. The ridge does not have to be revegetated. “It’s a joke,” says local resident Sally Mackay. “With a penalty that small, it makes good business sense to do the wrong thing. This is the ‘flatten first, worry about the implications later’ approach which is so familiar to Queenslanders. What’s the point of having these laws?” And the quarry manager is set to make good his eyesore threat: the company has applied to double the area of its mine.

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