Wombinoo Station Owners Fined

The Queensland Government says the owners of Wombinoo Station south-west of Cairns have been ordered to replant more than 130 hectares that had been cleared without authorisation.

Queensland’s Department of Natural Resources and Mines, which deals with land clearing, has been investigating Wombinoo station for two months.

In a statement, the department says satellite imagery identified approximately 132 hectares of unauthorised tree clearing.

Department investigators also went to the property and met with the owners, who have since been informed they will be fined for the breach and must replant 132 hectares of native vegetation, which were cleared without authorisation.

The State Government issued permits to clear approximately 2,700 hectares of land on Wombinoo for high-value agriculture in 2015.

However, the clearing in question occurred outside the approved area.

The owners will be fined $2,356, which is 20 penalty units, or the largest possible fine for an individual for vegetation-related offences under the State Penalties Enforcement Regulation 2014.

The station’s owners were notified on Monday, December 18, the department told the ABC.

Station owner, Warren Jonsson, issued a media release in November saying “any clearing on Wombinoo Station is the subject of a lawful permit or as of right, such as fence lines or roads”.

Queensland’s re-elected Labor Government is planning to introduce laws to make it harder for farmers to clear land without first seeking permission.

The Palaszczuk Government attempted to do so last year but failed to get the bill through Parliament.

After November’s state election Labor now has a majority and intends to use that to tighten land clearing laws that were relaxed under Campbell Newman’s LNP Government.

The ABC approached Mr Jonsson for further comment.