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Notice given 23 June 2006

2111  Senator McLucas: To ask the Minister for the Environment and Heritage—With reference to arrangements for natural resource management (NRM) on Cape York Peninsula:

(1) Who recommended Mrs Mary Woods as the eminent person to conduct a review of the Cape York Peninsula natural resources management plan and investment strategy, and to recommend a community advisory group to administer Natural Heritage Trust funds for Cape York.

(2) Were the draft terms of reference, provided to the Environment, Communications, Information Technology and the Arts Committee at Budget estimates, updated or have theybeen adopted and agreed as final.

(3) What qualifications and experience does Mrs Woods have in natural resource management.

(4) (a) Who appointed Mrs Woods; and (b) when did her appointment become official.

(5) Can a copy of Mrs Woods’ contact of engagement be provided.

(6) Did Mrs Woods give a list of names of a selection panel for the proposed Cape York Peninsula Community Advisory Group to the Minister, or to departmental officials or to the Ministerial Steering Committee.

(7) (a) In the Minister’s letter to Mrs Mary Woods did he state: ‘The Ministers meeting in February was also provided with a proposal for establishing community delivery and engagement arrangements for the region. Given your experience in community natural resource management delivery, I would also appreciate your advice on the suitability of the proposed approach or any alternative approach’; and (b) what was the proposed approach.

(8) (a) Did the Minister also state in Mrs Woods’ terms of reference that she was to ‘provide advice on the most suitable model for regional arrangements in the Cape York Peninsula including community advisory arrangements to support the delivery of trust investment in the region’; and (b)(i) what was the advice given, (ii) when was it given, (iii) to whom was it given, and (iv) was that advice adopted.


 (9) It is correct that the terms of reference for the eminent person, Mrs Woods, state that the person will be responsible for ‘assisting with the development of a process to establish the Cape York Community Advisory Group and a transitional process for regional decision-making on natural resource management for Cape York Peninsula consistent with the rest of the state’.

(10) Is it correct that every other NRM region has a representative board or advisory group selected on the basis of an exhaustive community consultation; if not, which regions do not have a community-based board or advisory group.

(11) Is it correct that the contract for Mrs Woods, copied to departmental officials calls for her to provide advice on the ‘most suitable model for regional arrangements in the Cape York Peninsula including community advisory arrangements to support the delivery of trust investment in the region’.

(12) Can a copy be provided of the report prepared by the eminent person on the public consultation process for the Cape York Advisory Group and Regional Plan which was presented to the Federal and Queensland Governments in mid July 2005.

(13) (a) Who commissioned that report; and (b) did the Minister, or his department or the Ministerial Steering Committee receive a copy; if so, when was it received.

(14) Did the Minister, or his department or the Ministerial Committee approve the report and act on its recommendations.

(15) Did the report include a list of names of people to comprise the Community Advisory Group.

(16) Was this list compiled after community consultation on Cape York by Mrs Woods and her selection panel.

(17) Did the Minister have a meeting with Mrs Woods in Canberra in July or August 2005; if so: (a) who attended that meeting and in what capacity; and (b) what was the purpose of the meeting.

(18) (a) Did the Minister and/or Mr Entsch MP inform Mrs Woods that the list of names was unacceptable; and (b) did the Minister and/or Mr Entsch MP remove four names from that list and substitute them with people of their own choosing.

(19) On what basis were those four people selected by the Minister and/or Mr Entsch MP.

(20) Was the substitution of those four names made in accordance with the processes approved by the Ministerial Steering Committee; if so, how.

(21) Was the Ministerial Steering Committee advised of the changes or substitutions; if so: (a) were those changes or substitutions approved; and (b) when was the committee advised.

(22) Were the original names approved by the Queensland Government.

(23) Did Mrs Woods object to the substitutions of names, and the way in which this was done outside the processes agreed by the community of Cape York Peninsula.


 (24) Did the Minister, who is responsible for NRM arrangements on Cape York, approve or authorise the public release of the amended list of names on the Community Advisory Group, which was published in the Cooktown Local News of 28 September 2005; if not: (a) on what basis was that list published; and (b) was it published in accord with the agreed processes.

(25) Were the people on that list notified of their appointment prior to the list being published and did each of them agree to be on the Community Advisory Group.

(26) (a) What natural resource management expertise or experience does the Cape York Peninsula Development Association (CYPDA) have; and (b) what expertise or experience does it have in NHT processes and reporting, specifically: (i) what environmental, Indigenous or economic development expertise or representation does it have, and (ii) what expertise in matters such as land and vegetation management, grazing and water quality does it have.

(27) What knowledge does the CYPDA have of the target-setting and review process required in the NRM plan.

(28) Is it correct that the terms of reference for the Cape York Community Advisory Group state that ‘the term of appointment of the chairperson and members will cease on 30 June 2006’, and that one of the proposed tasks was to establish an NRM board for Cape York.

(29) What is the term of appointment of the CYPDA as an interim board.

(30) Is the Minister aware of a unanimous decision by 28 community-wide representatives of Cape York on Thursday, 15 June 2006 to seek support to establish a Cape York Natural Resources Management Advisory Group to administer National Heritage Trust Funds.

(31) Is the Minister aware of a letter to the Cooktown Local News of 26 April 2006, in which the writer says Mr Entsch MP has spun ‘a web of half-truths and misinformation’ concerning the selection of an NRM advisory board.

(32) Is the Minister aware that this letter was written by Mrs Woods, the eminent person appointed by himself to select an advisory board for his approval and that it states the Minister was ‘prepared to allow him (Mr Entsch) to kick the approved process into the weeds’.

(33) Will the Minister agree to the unanimous view of Cape York community representatives and support them to establish an NRM board of their own.