In the fight for rainforest
the army as a private and retired as a brigadier general, one of his last tasks being the raising of the 51st Battalion Regional Force Surveillance Unit.
On the face of it it might seem unlikely that a military man has gone into bat for the birds and trees, but in the brigadier’s case you’d be wrong if you thought that. He served on the board of the Wet Tropics Management Authority before he was asked to head up the Australian Rainforest Foundation.
Along with vital support of then and current Member for Leichhardt, Warren Entsch, he helped win $7 million for the foundation. It meant it could secure 32 blocks, of which it now has nine left, among them one at Mission beach and four at Coopers Creek in the Daintree.
It secured the 80 hectares at Cape Trib for $2 million at a keenly bargained price (from $2.6m asking price). But a key feature of its strategy is not to own blocks forever but to buy them, return them to rainforest, and then sell them to custodial landholders who adhere to the strict covenants placed on them at the time of purchase.
‘‘We don’t want to be paying rates on all these blocks,’’ says Roger Phillips. ‘‘It’s a waste of money. Our policy is one of revolving funding so we can keep moving on and doing more blocks.’’
ALL of us inherited a wealth of revegetated rainforest last Saturday, in total 80 hectares of it.
REHABILITATION: preparation of the block followed exacting techniques
TOUR: guests at the ceremony walk the block