Great Southern Plantations may want to blame “mapping technology” for some of its breaches of landclearing regulations on Melville Island (as Crikey reported yesterday), but perhaps it should just learn how to count.

Condition 3 of the Commonwealth approval for the landclearing and plantation establishment states:

The proponents will not undertake future clearing on treeless plains, riparian areas, water courses, or rainforests, and the following buffers are incorporated into site selection

  • wet rainforest patches: 400m

A recent site inspection (September 2007) clearly shows that condition three has been breached. Clearing has occurred within 200m of the high conservation value small rainforest patches.

The photo below is from Melville Island and clearly show the 200m blunder. If you want to find where Great Southern went wrong then go to Google Earth and find 0668514, 8729476 or S11 o 29’21.1, E 130 o 32’41.9. Maybe the decision to ignore the condition and clear anyway was also made by an unskilled backpacker. Click here to see where the Tiwi islands are and see an older, similar breach.  

It will be interesting to see what penalty is handed out for these flagrant breaches and whether Great Southern will be given permission to clear the additional 40,000 hectares they are seeking.

And if anyone is wondering who supports this project, the Howard Government are fully supportive of the landclearing operation even though they oppose similar operations in the Pacific, but the Rudd opposition has yet to declare a position either way.

More info at http://tiwiislands.wordpress.com/