Our Successes · Nature & the Reef

Saving Lot 402, Bribie Island

30 November, 2012

A beautiful mosaic of eucalypt, tea-tree and banksia forest, paperbark wetland and wallum heath on Bribie Island once classified as Lot 402 is now national park. It would have been paved over by now if it weren’t for environmentalists prepared to fight for it in court, assisted by advice from EDO Qld.

A beautiful mosaic of eucalypt, tea-tree and banksia forest, paperbark wetland and wallum heath on Bribie Island once classified as Lot 402 is now national park. It would have been paved over by now if it weren’t for environmentalists prepared to fight for it in court, assisted by advice from EDO Qld.

The fate of Lot 402 had long been controversial, with the Bribie Island Environmental Protection Association (BIEPA) lobbying for many years for its protection in the face of pressure by the Queensland Lands Department and developers to allow development.

Close to the Ramsar-listed Pumistone Passage and part of a bushland patch accorded the highest conservation rating in Caboolture Shire’s Atlas of Natural Assets, the 37 hectare area of crown land was rented by Jural No. 11 Pty Ltd for $100 a year.  Jural proposed to turn it into a 294 allotment residential area with an artificial lake.

In 1997, Caboolture Shire Council rezoned it to allow development.

With many supporters saying it was hopeless – who could fight well-funded developers? – the executive of BIEPA decided to challenge the rezoning in the Planning and Environment Court. Lacking funds for a barrister, BIEPA represent themselves with president Len Baglow and member Jack Baker as agents in Court.

BIEPA managed to run their entire case for a mere $4500, but it was demanding and stressful work for a small community group. Len Baglow described running the case as “like teaching yourself to fly by reading the manual. It can be done. We've proven it, but it is hair raising.”

The case involved a large team effort, as Len explained “We had the initial team of two in court – supported by a wider team of about 10 who helped with various tasks – supported by another 20 who gave practical support – supported by another 70 who gave financial help.” BIEPA had five expert witnesses, of whom four gave their time freely and the fifth at a greatly reduced rate.

EDO Qld solicitor Jo Bragg provided encouragement and legal advice every step of the way, from the legal basis of the appeal to court protocol.

Justice Robin of the District Court upheld BIEPA’s appeal against the rezoning decision. He found that that the rezoning conflicted with the Council’s Strategic Land Use Plan and could not be justified on planning grounds.

Lot 402 was saved from urbanisation, and a few years later it was transferred as part of a 3690 hectare block into the national park estate.