DATE: 30 August 2017
LETTER: TO CHINESE AMBASSADOR CANBERRA, REGARDING KUR-WORLD PROPOSAL IN KURANDA, FNQ
TO: CHINESE AMBASSADOR
Dear Chinese Ambassador
We write on behalf of a network of environment and residents groups in the Kuranda Region of Far North Queensland, near to Cairns.
Chinese settlement is long-standing in this part of the world and we respect both Chinese culture and the contribution Chinese people and industry can make to the future of our region. In its early days (late 19th century) it’s said the population of Cairns was one third Chinese, and there was a small Cairns Chinatown in the early days of the settlement. We view China as a friend and look forward to growing co-operation over time.
However, Far North Queensland is an area of quite exceptional biodiversity. We have two World Heritage properties in this region: the world-famous Great Barrier Reef Marine Park and the less well-known, but no less remarkable, Wet Tropics (Australia’s largest remaining area of tropical rainforest).
It is vital that whatever development occurs in our future, it is genuinely sustainable. Already the biodiversity of our reefs and rainforests is in jeopardy, due to unsustainable practices of the past. Climate change is part of the reason for environmental decline – but far from the whole story. Since European colonisation, land management practices have been unsustainable and despite some improvements, that remains the case to this day. We in this region hope to correct this, so our world class environmental values are preserved for future generations.
It is therefore upsetting to us – and may be of concern to you – that goodwill to future Chinese investment within this region is also in jeopardy because of conflict over a proposed development called ‘Kur-World’, a proposal promoted by a Mr Ken Lee who apparently has Macau connections.
We attach a recent article in Macau Business which explains environmental concerns over the ‘Kur-World’ project. As you can see, informed opinion on this proposal is highly critical – while support seems mainly limited to consultants with a pecuniary interest in generating reports.
We urge you to be aware of this problem and ask you use whatever benign influence can be brought to bear to help save our precious environment, so people from all over the world can continue to enjoy it in times to come.