What advice did the Minister receive to make that decision? Was the Minister fully informed of the facts"?
These and other questions will be asked in a Right to Information request by Mission beach Cassowaries.
Pedro O'Connor, Director of Australian Inbound - Private Epic Journeys agrees. “Mission Beach is one of the few places in Australia where you can enjoy a true nature experience. It attracts the same market as the Daintree. " said Pedro. ”Why would you bring in this noise factor when the iconic features of Mission Beach are the Dunk Island butterfly and the cassowary. It just doesn’t go hand in hand with current community and visitor expectations”.
Pedro said there was no evidence the helicopter development would bring any economic benefits to Mission Beach. “Of course we need balanced growth. That is what everyone is looking for ".said Pedro, "but who is to benefit from this development?” "It won't be employing a lot of people so it needs to be weighed up against who will not benefit" . The accommodation houses and other providers along the coast who are selling their region for its nature and that’s being interrupted”.
“What is the developer’s true agenda"? Pedro asked? “There is no high end tourism industry at Mission Beach. It has developed as a low key boutique nature based tourism industry.
"The council and the Minister has been made well aware of the community's concerns. There is no evidence to show there would be any benefits for the community said Liz "But they have chosen to ignore it".
"How can we have faith in the assessment process”? The public feel they have been sidelined, let down and treated with contempt. Liz said “Council decisions are dividing communities and forcing some into costly court battles”.
“What is the point of council writing plans claiming to put “Community First’ and to “… listen to the people and support their quality lifestyle and unique natural environment", when council decisions, policies and actions are often in direct conflict to the vision in those plans? asks Liz.
"The community has been thrown into a state of anxiety over this decision". said Liz "They are now unsure of their future. Their lifestyle and economy are threatened. “What we want is sound future-focused planning, and state and local governments which defend that planning; not to play the double game of writing good things into policy and legislation and doing bad things on the ground”.
The Mayor of the Cassowary Coast Regional Council told ABC Far North he couldn't comment as the matter is in the court. Cr Nolan said the submitters are exercising their right of appeal and confirmed the ratepayers will be paying for the council to defend the appeal.
"This is what the assessment process has come to" said Liz "The public input during the consultation process is ignored, the planning scheme is ignored, and the planning department recommendation is skewed in favour of the developer. The council will then use public funds to defend themselves against any appeal against the decision. A 'win win' for the developer and a 'lose lose' for the community and public expectation of a fair due process". said Liz.
“All of this angst could have avoided by the council sticking to their planning scheme and working in the public, not the developer’s interest said Liz. The helicopter facility belongs at one of the designated air services facilities in the Cassowary Coast".
The Community For Coastal and Cassowary Conservation (C4) has filed an appeal in the Planning and Environment court against the helicopter development approval.
Mission Beach Cassowaries is helping raise funds for the appeal. Please go to nohelicoptershere gofundme if you would like to help.
Mission Beach Cassowaries
Australian Inbound - Private Epic Journeys
0418 113 227
It has been confirmed. The people and the cassowary are of no interest to the State government and the cassowary and the World Heritage areas are of no significance to the Federal government.
First they take no notice when the council puts together a shoddy planning report clearly skewed in favour of the developer and when it is bought to the Federal and State governments attention by hundreds of people they say it is not of interest or of no significance.
The Federal Environment Department informed us on 4th March " I can confirm that the consultant working on behalf of Mission Helicopters Pty Ltd responded to the department advising that Mission Helicopters Pty Ltd is aware of its obligations under the EPBC Act but is focusing on finalising the Local Council processes at this point in time".
Minister Ley confirms in her response to our 'call in' request, "The company has advised it is aware of its obligations under the EPBC Act and will seek advice from the department when appropriate. "
The State Minister for Infrastructure and Planning/local government has decided against using his power to call in the development for reassessment. He informs us the appropriate place for any community concerns to be heard is in a costly court appeal. , "This is a reserve power that is used only in exceptional circumstances. In this instance, there are no state interests impacted by the development which would warrant my involvement. The Planning and Environment Court is an appropriate forum to examine any issues relating to the technical assessment of this application.
It's all in the letters below.
The ordinary people, the ones the governments are supposed to be working for, have been dismissed.
Thank you so much for taking the time. Your letters do help!
We have composed a draft letter for you to send to the Federal Environment Department asking them to remind the heliport proponent, Ray Cronin of Mission Helicopters, of his obligation to refer any development that is likely to have a significant impact on a matter of National Environmental Significance, to be assessed under the EPBC Act
Download the document below.
Please read the document and write a letter in your own words using any of the points in our draft.
Your letter will have more weight if it is written in your own words.
Thanks for taking the time.
In Oct 2017 the 50th Anniversary of the saving of Ellison Reef from lime mining was celebrated at Ninney Rise'. Guest speaker, Prof Bob Pressey of ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies - JCU Townsville, began his address, titled 'Death by a thousand cuts' with, "The development assessment process is broken, it's been broken for a long time and it is kept broken deliberately."
With the approval of a heliport allowing three medium lift helicopters to operate early morning to late afternoon, 7 days a week, in a tourism destination known for its quiet and peaceful amenity, the community has become painfully aware public interest is not at the forefront of council decision making.
Not just about Mission Beach - a Cassowary Coast issue
Council decisions bely the rhetoric reinforced in their own policies, strategies and plans. Following is from the CCRC Corporate Plan . (below right)
The lack of Federal and State Government oversight has resulted in Planner’s reports being produced using shallow reasoning, blatantly justifying support for developments despite conflicts with local and State planning. When Planning department recommendations or councillor decisions are questioned, the public are informed they have the right of appeal. The council’s “ If you don’t like it, take us to court” attitude treats public interest with contempt.
If the communities of the Cassowary Coast thought they could go back to some 'normality' after a resounding rejection of a council that ruled in secrecy with a bias embracing speculators and developers ahead of the public interest, the heliport decision has given a sobering reminder that is not the case. A culture was introduced with the former council that remains entrenched in the operations of the so called democratic process of our present council.
Feel secure and watch this space. There is a heliport, or something equally as inappropriate or shocking, coming to a place near you soon!
Mission Beach Cassowaries Inc
0414 402 315
We have just set up a Go Fund Me account to raise funds for an appeal
Please send/share this throughout your networks.
A community meeting was held at C4 on Saturday 23rd January to discuss options following the disappointing decision of the Council to approve the contentious helipad development.
Ex Cassowary Coast Regional Council Mayor, Bill Shannon, attended the meeting and was able to answer questions and clarify points brought up during the meeting. Bill was reminded that his council denied an application in 2008 lodged by the then existing Raw Materials owner to expand the business. Bill agreed the application for an expansion of the business was refused on the grounds it was inconsistent with the intent of the planning scheme as was the helipad, commenting further, "It should not have been approved".
Where was the “robust assessment process” boasted by the Mayor? It certainly wasn’t evident at the General Meeting (21st January).
Where was the tabling, report or even discussion about the properly made and lodged petition carrying 650 signatures against the contentious proposal to place an intrusive development on good agricultural land that threatens to destroy the peace and quiet amenity of local residents? Are these affected residents of no account to this Council?
Where was the discussion about the content of hundreds of emails councillors received from local, regional and national people outlining their concerns?
A development that obviously hits at the heart of the community and will have a major impact on the future of Mission Beach, took just fourteen and a half minutes for the councillors to cast a vote in favour. (see meeting video below)
The council decision to approve the amenity destroying helicopter project has thrown many residents of Mission Beach into despair and a state of anxiety. Those who have chosen to live here have long responded to government planning processes to protect our natural environment and our village lifestyle.
The community now question how much this council considers the best interests of the public. Most of the councillors have demonstrated they have no understanding of the fundamental importance of the intrinsic values of our shire to the health of our community, environment and economy.
This is not just a Mission Beach issue. The CCRC is making decisions for the whole of the shire using the same 'logic' and decision making process. A large part of that is carried out behind closed doors at pre meeting 'Councillor Information Sessions'.
More information on what actions the community can take to help, including letter writing and fund raising for an appeal will be distributed soon.
Planners report starts at 136:00 Council 'discussion' starts at 144:40
This website is managed by Mission Beach Cassowaries inc to share information about the No Helicopters Here campaign against the approval of A HELICOPTER BASE on 2224 Tully Mission Beach Road.
Latest on court appeal orders
On 3rd Dec the appeal was reviewed. Judge Morzone ordered (above) the appellant (C4) to provide a list of matters they wish to be considered for inclusion in the proposed conditions attached to any approval of the development application.
On the 3rd September an Order (above) was made by his Honour Judge Morzone QC.
The appeal will be reviewed on 3 December 2021
On the 6th August the court ordered MH to respond to C4 correspondence by August 15th.
Next appeal review is listed for 3rd September.
All relevant COURT APPEAL
SUPREME AND DISTRICT COURTS CAIRNS
Grounds C4 has filed to appeal the Heliport approval decision
Grounds on which Mission Helicopters, as co respondent , will defend the appeal .