State fine for land clearing
A FAR North Queensland producer has been fined and ordered to restore areas of native vegetation on parts of his property west of Mt Garnet after satellite imagery identified about 132ha of unauthorised tree clearing.
Warren Jonsson, owner of Jonsson's Farm Market in Cairns, last month announced he planned to take legal action against The Wilderness Society and the ABC for claims that he "cleared the land without EPBC (Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation) Act approval" and had "threatened species and habitat including koalas" at his Wombinoo Station, which he denies.
Mr Jonsson said he obtained a permit from the Queensland Government in 2015 to clear 2700ha of native vegetation at Wombinoo Station for high value agriculture.
But the Department of Natural Resources, Mines and Energy (DNRME) has found that, while Mr Jonsson did have a clearing permit in place, about 132ha was cleared outside of the approved area. A DNRME statement said Mr Jonsson was advised of the compliance action on Monday.
"DNRME officers have analysed high-resolution imagery and met with the landholders on their property," the statement said.
"In 2017, modern GPS and other technology is readily available to landholders to accurately locate permitted areas for clearing.
"In addition to a restoration notice, a property map of assessable vegetation (PMAV) has been placed on the property and the landholder has been issued a fine for unauthorised clearing.
"A PMAV can be placed over an area of land for a number of reasons, including to allow an area to regenerate when it has been unlawfully cleared"
Mr Jonsson said he had no comment at this time.