$4.3m for Port Hinchinbrook sewage treatment

Hinchinbrook MP Nick Dametto at Port Hinchinbrook’s existing Sewage Treatment Plant.

Hinchinbrook MP Nick Dametto has welcomed State Development Minister Kate Jones’ announcement of up to $4.3 million in conditional State funding towards the replacement of Port Hinchinbrook’s Sewage Treatment Plant (STP), saying Cardwell is another step closer to realising its full economic potential.

Mr Dametto said he was “absolutely ecstatic” over the funding windfall, which was a critical step to returning the development to its former glory.

“This is a massive win for the Cardwell community. Without the strong support of local businesses and residents behind me, we could not have got this far, and we are now another step closer to fixing some of Port Hinchinbrook’s long-standing problems,” he said.

“With today’s multi-million dollar announcement, residents who have been living in limbo will now have some certainty around the future of who will own and run this essential service. This also has the potential to entice investors to consider redeveloping properties like Port Hinchinbrook’s marina basin, restaurant and shopping precinct.”

Cassowary Coast Regional Council was the recipient of the conditional funding for the replacement STP, with the State continuing to work with council to secure the various approvals required and acquire the land needed.

Detailed design and specifications for the project, which are jointly funded by the State and council, will form the basis of the project. Funding provided by the State is conditional upon agreed milestones being reached in the project program, with the project estimated to deliver 21 construction jobs. Construction on the replacement STP is scheduled to commence by mid-2021.

In August 2018, Mr Dametto was successful in lobbying the State for $200,000 in funding for Cassowary Coast Regional Council to conduct emergency repairs and running costs for the current STP, with a further $100,000 delivered in 2019.

That funding win for the existing STP followed a historic meeting with Port Hinchinbrook stakeholders organised by Mr Dametto in July 2018 to discuss how to restore town’s ailing development to its former glory.

“Since I first became the Member for Hinchinbrook, I have been relentless in my lobbying to restore a sense of normality to Port Hinchinbrook,” he said.

Mr Dametto said council ownership of the STP “was a vital step towards unleashing Cardwell’s economic potential”.

“Normalisation of essential services at Port Hinchinbrook would see the development treated like any other suburb of the Cassowary Coast. I believe council is best placed to own, run and maintain the STP. For the past 18 months, I have been in negotiations with the State Government to extract funding so the economic burden does not fall solely on Cassowary Coast Ratepayers, and that services can be delivered at a reasonable price for current and future Port Hinchinbrook residents.

“Council will have the ability to charge and rate Port Hinchinbrook residents for the service provided but it’s their responsibility to provide this at a reasonable cost.

“Ownership of the Port Hinchinbrook’s STP was a fundamental issue for many years that no previous State representative has even attempted to fix. We now have an outcome.”

Mr Dametto said the fight continued to ensure all-tidal access to One Mile Creek was restored and fully funded as one of his non-negotiable priorities should Katter’s Australian Party be in a position of power to form government after the State election.

“It’s been one hell of an undertaking to first fully understand the ailments of the development and then we have had to unpack them one by one so that we could start to fix them. I look forward to continuing this work with the support of the community in the years to come,” he said.

“Let’s make it happen.”

Nick Dametto MP