Why is one of the best Sunshine Coast attractions kept hidden?

4 November 2019

A pilot project has been conducted by the Montville Chamber of Commerce to clear a 150m strip section of the Blackall Range Tourist Drive (Maleny-Montville Road) as a demonstration of what scenic views are being hidden from Sunshine Coast Hinterland tourists by years of noxious weed growth.

Member for Glass House, Andrew Powell MP, has received so many complaints about noxious weeds in his electorate that he piqued the interest of Shadow Minister for Agriculture Tony Perrett.

On Tuesday Mr Perrett visited Montville, where local resident Otto Lechner has spearheaded an extraordinary weed removal project.

As the Vice President of the Montville Chamber of Commerce, Otto led the Chamber initiative of clearing noxious weeds such as Creeping Lantana on a 150m x 10m section of the Blackall Range Tourist Drive – Maleny-Montville Road.

“It took me just 91 hours of manual labour to remove the unwanted foliage and reveal the scenic beauty of the Blackall Range. Thanks goes to the Clearview Estate Body Corporate who gave permission for the project to be conducted on their land” Otto stated.

“In the big scheme of things this is such a small patch, which the government could easily replicate on a number of sections across the Blackall Range Tourist Drive in order to create an iconic driving experience” he finished.

Mr Powell is in complete agreeance with Otto, and applauds his humble work in rejuvenating the Range.

“It’s great to see the Montville Chamber of Commerce supported by local business groups, proactively promoting the significance of the Blackall Range Tourist Drive to the local tourist-based economy” said Mr Powell.

“Ultimately, noxious weed removal activities such as this is not their job, but rather an important part of the Minister for Agriculture’s portfolio. One which he is unfortunately forsaking.”

“Otto is too modest, the work he carried out in removing the Creeping Lantana from this section of the range was a hard slog. The community is lucky to have the Montville Chamber of Commerce move on important economic and environmental issues” he finished.

Mr Powell and Mr Perrett have urged the government to treat weeds as a higher priority.

“In areas such as Montville, noxious weeds have the potential to damage tourism– one of the biggest industries in the region” said Mr Perrett.

“The work that Otto has done is fantastic, but at the end of the day it is the government that needs to step up to the plate and take the removal of invasive weeds more seriously” concluded Mr Powell.