DOUGLAS SHIRE COUNCIL has resolved to sell Lot 83 Cape Tribulation Road to Queensland Trust for Nature and Rainforest Rescue for $725,000, the same price at which Council purchased the lot in October 2019.

Douglas Shire Mayor Michael Kerr said the sale is a win-win and came about following an approach from the two organisations in July when they shared their vision for the property.

“Queensland Trust for Nature and Rainforest Rescue plan to restore the degraded aspects of the property – around 80 to 100 hectares – to full rainforest,” he said.

“They’ll create a nursery which will provide training and learning opportunities for Indigenous rangers on country and have already been in discussions with Jabalbina about how the work can be delivered and open up employment opportunities for Eastern Kuku Yalanji people.”

The Mayor was confident the project would deliver multiple benefits to the environment, the community and the Shire’s economy.

“One of the outcomes I would like to see, is that Douglas Shire becomes a showcase for best practice for rainforest restoration and inspire others around the world to follow suit.”

For Rainforest Rescue CEO Branden Barber it is a dream come true.

“I’m extremely pleased about this project and what it means for the Daintree and for the community.

“At present, the shire has capacity across existing nurseries to propagate around 25,000 rainforest seedlings each year which limits restoration opportunities.

“Our aim is to increase this significantly,” Mr Barber said. “It’s time to grow.”

The land is currently tenanted by a grazier who runs 90 head of cattle on the lot. Queensland Trust for Nature’s CEO Stephen Lacey has confirmed the cattle will remain there for the moment.

“We are looking at a 60 to 90 day settlement and this will cover the current lease arrangements,” Mr Lacey said.

“We will discuss with the lessee continuation of this arrangement until such time as we are ready to commence work.

Down the track, Mr Lacey is confident the property will be the epicentre of a new, community benefitting circular economy based from ecosystem services.

“We envisage conserving and rehabilitating this World Heritage area to such an extent that Douglas can claim the Daintree is one of the only rainforests in the world not in decline and is in fact growing,” Mr Lacey said.