Kur-World Response to Professor Bill Laurance, James Cook University

Response to Professor Bill Laurance, James Cook University

I refer to a presentation delivered by Bill Laurance at a ‘Stop Kur-World’ fundraiser held at the Kuranda Amphitheatre on the evening of Friday 28th of July 2017. In giving his opinions, Bill has incorrectly attributed certain information to me. Bill has either misunderstood or misrepresented my comments. In either case, the information attributed to me by Bill is not correct. I have taken the time to prepare the following to inform the public:

Bill reported “Many projects will be sold off to other developers”.

The project proponent is Reever and Ocean Developments Pty Ltd. Component parts of the project include, for example, a university campus and sporting facilities. Entities that have specialist knowledge, experience and demonstrated capability will enter a commercial relationship with the proponent to deliver and operate these facilities.   

 Bill reported “No restrictions on domestic pets”.

The statement is not correct.

Domestic pets are a key consideration. It is an issue that has been managed poorly in many instances in the past including developments in the Kuranda area and it is intended to learn from experience and develop effective controls for the site.

 Bill reported “Much remains uncertain”.

The proponent is adhering to a statutory process, the outcome of which is not known until it is completed.

Component parts of the project will alter, for example, in response to the results of investigations or in accordance with the requirements of regulatory authorities.

There are over 30 studies underway in relation to the Kur-World project, the results of which are informative. For example, regarding connectivity, site-specific data demonstrates there is no evidence to support Bill’s assertion suggesting that the development would “slam the door” on any gene flow between the two remaining North Bettong populations (Lamb Range 25km to the south and Mt Lewis 40km north-west of the site). Field surveys undertaken by appropriately qualified and experienced ecologists have determined that the prime habitat for the species does not occur on the project site. Potential sub-optimal habitat does exist on the project site. This habitat area has been included in the area of remnant vegetation to be managed as an environmental area. Further, the area of project site that comprises the Envirolink Corridor (a discontinuous collection of remnant and non-remnant vegetation that links the northern and southern sections of the World Heritage area) will be preserved as a component of the project. Mechanisms to manage this area to improve habitat values are being investigated.

Bill made comments about Ken Lee concerning his ethnicity and English language skills.

These comments are Bill's alone.

The proponent is required to fulfil regulatory requirements under Australian law which are articulated in statutory documents.

For more information on environmental issues associated with the development, please visit the Kur-World website (www.kur-world.com).

Neil Boland

Principal Environmental Scientist

Natural Resource Assessments Pty Ltd (trading as NRA Environmental Consultants)