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Residents locked out of state forest

SEALED OFF: A section of the Beerburrum East State Forest has been fenced, gated and padlocked.
SEALED OFF: A section of the Beerburrum East State Forest has been fenced, gated and padlocked. Paxton Roth

NINGI residents want to know why 70ha of the Bribie Logging Area has been fenced, gated, locked and signed as private property.

The land adjacent to Bribie Island Rd was regularly used by residents.

Over the last few months a barbed wired fence has been erected around the land and the access gates have been padlocked.

Ningi resident Di Spencer wants answers.

"We have been walking in the area for years - there used to be pathways through but that hasn't been up-kept,” she said,

"I rang up to inquire if you can still walk through and they said it's been leased now.

"We want to know if we can still go through the forest - I didn't think you could close a road.”

The section of land is part of the Bribie Logging Area, which is in the Beerburrum East State Forest.

Since 2010 HQPlantations has been responsible for managing about 22,000ha of plantations in the Beerburrum area under a 99-year licence issued under the Forestry Act.

A HQPlantations spokeswoman said under this licence, they have the right to harvest and grow plantation timber.

"A stock grazing permit has been issued over 70ha of the 450ha of plantations in the Bribie Logging Area,” the spokeswoman said.

"Conditions of a stock grazing permit include erecting and maintaining secure stock fencing and identifying and controlling noxious weeds.

"A stock grazing permit does not create private property or give the permit holder exclusive rights to the area.”

Ningi resident Trevor Spencer said the lack of upkeep of the land presented a fire risk.

"A big fire went right through the paddock behind but it's since been cleared,” he said.

"This is a fire risk now - you could get lost in there the grass is so long.”

The HQPlantations spokeswoman said stock grazing supported agriculture in Queensland by allowing the livestock to feed on the grass.

"They also provide community benefits as active stock grazing can reduce the proliferation of weeds, fuel loads and associated fire risk,” shesaid.

"The frequency of prescribed burning canalso be lowered, whichreduces potential smoke hazards for neighbours and passing motorists.”

She said they recently became aware of unauthorised signage and would initiate action to remove it and review how walker access to the area could be improved.


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