Hinchinbrook MP, Andrew Cripps, says he is pleased to see progress being made to re-establishing commercial forestry activities on land in the Herbert River district, Cardwell and Kennedy areas.
Mr Cripps said he was encouraged by advice from HQ Plantations that it has completed the re-establishment of 679 hectares of land in the last few months, with a further 1,300 hectares being prepared for re-planting in 2016.
“HQ Plantations has now completed the re-establishment of about 1,600 hectares of forestry land destroyed by Cyclone Yasi in 2011 and has plans another 1,300 next year, so it appears progress in being made’ said Mr Cripps.
“It’s also good to see HQ Plantations putting effort into its genetics program to re-establish trees that are more resistant to wind, so hopefully we don’t see so much damage and such a slow recovery in the future” he said.
Mr Cripps said he gave HQ Plantations ‘a bit of a tune up’ in January, over concerns in the local community that there was a lack of commitment from the company to continue commercial forestry in the Hinchinbrook electorate.
“I told HQ Plantations in no uncertain terms that if they were not going to utilise the land for commercial forestry, they should surrender the licence and make it available for use for other productive industries” said Mr Cripps.
“I inspected some holdings they had already re-planted and since then they have re-planted more, so it spears they are now getting on with the job and they are committed to their commercial operations in this area” he said.
Mr Cripps said he also told HQ Plantations to communicate more effectively with the local community about their activities and welcomed the proposal to hold a field day later in the year to showcase re-establishment plans.
“This is a step in the right direction to ensure the wider community are aware of what is going on, because commercial forestry has a significant footprint in the Cardwell and Kennedy areas and in the Herbert River district” said Mr Cripps.
“I appreciate HQ Plantations taking on board the concerns I raised with them in January on behalf of the local community and for being more tuned in to the need to communicate with relevant stakeholders” he said.