Indigenous leader Noel Pearson has slammed a push by the Queensland government for Cape York to be world heritage listed, saying it will further damage healthy eating habits among local Aboriginal communities.
Aboriginal residents in Cape York are seething over the government's decision to declare three basins - the Lockhart, Stewart and the Archer - as "wild rivers".
The declarations will ban development within one kilometre of rivers and creeks in the basin, with lesser restrictions placed on the remainder of the declared area.
If a world heritage listing is approved, local communities will be banned from building anywhere in the region.
Pearson said he feared the move would result in indigenous people not being able to undertake small-scale food production to feed themselves.
"By the time this wild rivers regime, as announced by the premier, finishes, more than 80 per cent of the Cape will be covered by this no-development zone, and local communities won't even be in a position to undertake small-scale food production to feed themselves," he told Macquarie Radio.
"It costs you $15 a kilo (for carrots) if you are in a indigenous community.
"No wonder our people don't eat healthy, because we are importing all of the foods that could grow very easily at our doorstep," he said.