Barking mad at native ‘graveyard'
STANDING among the thousands of ghost-white poisoned trunks of ironbark trees, third-generation Elbow Valley landholder Lindsay Madsen was distraught.
Mr Madsen surveyed the dead trees, allegedly killed by unlawful poisoning, from the Southern Downs Regional Council's (SDRC) road reserve.
“It looks like a graveyard,” Mr Madsen said.
“These are beautiful straight ironbark trees which have been killed, thousands of them on hundreds of acres. We have koalas here, where will they go?
“I believe this is illegal and irresponsible destruction of trees. I know they're not people but it's our environment and once it's gone that's it.”
An examination of the tree trunks shows the tell-tale sign of where an axe has crudely broken the bark and where the deadly toxin was injected, evidence that has prompted an investigation at the Elbow Valley property.
While Mr Madsen is not a “full-blown greenie” the sight of dead trees carpeting the land was “sad”.
“I'm a third-generation landholder with my grandparents and parents living their entire lives in the district and I'm proud to say they cared about and assisted neighbours and respected the land and our environment,” he said.
The property where the trees are alleged to have been poisoned is at the centre of an investigation by the SDRC and the Department of Environment and Resource Management (DERM).
A SDRC spokeswoman said council was investigating interference with Woods Road, a council road that provides access to a number of Elbow Valley properties.
“Council was advised of both issues on Friday, July 16 and a formal letter of complaint was received by the CEO,” the spokeswoman said.
“The poisoning of the trees is a DERM matter and will be referred to them and council staff are investigating the alleged closure of Woods (Road).”
A DERM spokesman said the department had received a complaint and the property was being investigated.
A DERM Vegetation Management Act regional ecosystem and remnant map generated yesterday indicated the property where the alleged poisoning occurred falls into the dominant and sub-dominant category and is listed as a B area “with remnant vegetation or vegetation subjected to a permit that maintains vegetation under the property maps of assessable vegetation (PMAVs)”.
DERM PMAVs outline the clearing of native trees in Queensland is regulated by the vegetation management framework and includes the Vegetation Management Act 1999 and Integrated Planning Act 1997.
If DERM detects illegal clearing it may impose a penalty infringement notice of up to $124,000; prosecute the person who has done the clearing – the maximum penalty can be $124,000 – and issue a compliance notice requiring the owner of the property to restore and manage the cleared vegetation until it is mapped as remnant vegetation on a regional ecosystem map. This notice binds to the title of the land, and will be transferred to any new owners.
Attempts to contact the landowner yesterday were unsuccessful.