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Rare quoll could end mini-city

With no time limit on when Cherrabah owner the Joyful View Garden Real Estate Company has to respond to the federal submissions the saga could drag on well into next year.
With no time limit on when Cherrabah owner the Joyful View Garden Real Estate Company has to respond to the federal submissions the saga could drag on well into next year. Contributed

IT'S the size of the average house cat, has razor-sharp teeth and only comes out at night - and it could stop a mini-city east of Warwick.

The spotted-tail quoll is at the centre of objections sent to the Federal Government over a planned expansion of the Cherrabah Resort at Elbow Valley into a 2000-tourist and 2000-resident mega development, with submissions closing tomorrow.

The project is at the centre of a legal battle between Cherrabah's Chinese owners and the Southern Downs Regional Council, but if Canberra steps in and blocks the plan - which opponents say could wipe out the quolls - it will be the end of the road.

With no time limit on when Cherrabah owner the Joyful View Garden Real Estate Company has to respond to the federal submissions the saga could drag on well into next year.

It is understood landowners and bodies objecting to the Cherrabah expansion due to the property's quolls - officially a threatened species - include the Wildlife Preservation Society, NSW Parks and Wildlife and a locally-based quoll action group.

Opponents claim the carnivorous spotted-tail quoll, the mainland equivalent of the Tasmanian Devil, was once widely distributed throughout Australia but now numbers no more than 10,000.

The Cherrabah population is believed to be the largest in Queensland, with other species claimed to be under threat from a Cherrabah mini-city including the New Holland Mouse and a species of melaleuca tree.

Cullendore Quoll Action Group member Stuart Bell yesterday said he was unsure how many objections had been sent to Canberra.

But he said it would be enough to trigger a full-scale assessment of the Cherrabah plan.

"The owners may want to wait for the next federal election and a change in government before they respond to the public submissions," Mr Bell said.

"It also seems odd they started a court appeal against the council before the federal decision."

A spokeswoman for the Federal Department of Sustainability and Environment confirmed a decision by them to quash the Cherrabah plan would override any council or state approval, with the council having now asked state Planning Minister Jeff Seeney to take it out of their hands.

The federal spokeswoman said once the department had received Joyful View's responses to any public objections a federal decision was "generally expected" within 40 days, but could not be any more specific about a timeframe.

Topics:  cherrabah resort elbow valley southern downs regional council



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