Govt called in as MMM fells trees

The Chronicle/February 20, 2003

Natural Resources and Mines (NR&M) is investigating the felling of trees on one of the Magnificat Meal Movement's Grantham properties.

Cattle farmer Mrs Judy Deucker contacted The Chronicle yesterday with concerns the religious group was illegally felling on a Sandy Creek Road property.

"We're in the middle of a drought ... these trees are between 30 and 50 years old," Mrs Deucker said.

Her 160-acre property, which she farms with husband Hank, borders the MMM's land. According to Mrs Deucker the felling began about 8am.

She called NR&M about 10am to complain.

"I've contacted Ipswich and Gatton (NR&M). Ipswich was trying to get a compliance officer on the scene," she said.

"There's been a lot of confusion."

On contacting the Premier's office Mrs Deucker was referred to Brisbane NR&M.

"I've got the impression, through hearsay, that the trees are being felled to make way for an olive grove," she said.

Mrs Deucker attempted to "protest" against the trees removal.

"But there's a guy at the gate ... you can't get past." she said.

"We either sit and wait or go and lie in front of a bulldozer. This is happening right on our doorstep."

Felling was continuing when The Chronicle left the scene at 3.30pm.

An NR&M officer said the matter was a compliance issue and was under investigation. The Chronicle attempted to contact the MMM for comment yesterday.

A man stationed at the gate of one of the movement's other Sandy Creek Road properties said there was "nobody here" who could help.

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