President’s member update – Cooloola Great Walk

Dear members, a quick update on my previous posting re Cooloola Great Walk.

Last Friday 3 June, Kabi Kabi Native Title applicant Brian Warner and CABN CEO Michael Lamprell gave a public presentation to the weeklong Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies Summit at Sunshine Coast Conference Centre.

This was the first time that these two key figures in the shaping of the Cooloola Great Walk project have spoken publicly, so I am pleased to now share this information with members.

Key points emerging from the presentation were:

  • The final siting of the five Great Walk accommodation sites is still being decided.
  • Kabi Kabi peoples will be making the decision on the final sites. 
  • Kabi Kabi peoples are committed to using their Native Title rights to i) better manage 4WD numbers and driver behaviour on Teewah Beach, and ii) prevent fossil fuel powered boats using the Upper Noosa River upstream of the Kinaba information centre.
  • Kabi Kabi peoples will be introducing a Restricted Access Area (RAA) at i) Double Island Point for a Kabi Kabi people’s camping ground and ii) a strip of land around the perimeter of Lake Poona. The proposed RAA at DIP has been on the public record for some time, however its intended use was unknown until this announcement.  The proposed RAA at Lake Poona was a surprise to NPA, and its purpose is unknown. 

From the get-go, NPA has accepted and respected Kabi Kabi peoples’ Native Title right, along with the State, to decide the nature of a commercial Cooloola Great Walk. Slowly but surely, Kabi Kabi peoples and the State are respecting NPA’s advocacy on modifying site selection at Lake Poona and the Upper Noosa River. NPA is now cautiously optimistic that a joint State Government – Kabi Kabi peoples’ announcement on sites will be made by the end of August. 

After the statement at last Friday’s public presentation regarding the restriction around the whole of Lake Poona, NPA will now focus its advocacy on ensuring the lake remains accessible to all walkers.