Cardwell in limbo over dredge promise

Hinchinbrook MP Nick Dametto and Kennedy MP Bob Katter address media in Canberra following a meeting with Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack today.

THE Cardwell community has been left in limbo by the Federal Coalition Government after Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack refused to commit to an election promise of up to $1.5 million to dredge One Mile Creek.

Speaking after his meeting with Mr McCormack in Canberra today, Hinchinbrook MP Nick Dametto said the government’s refusal to commit to the project was a “significant setback” for Cardwell.

“We’re disappointed but the people of Cardwell should be more disappointed,” he said.

“At a time when Queenslanders are wanting to trust the LNP with a failing Labor State Government, breaking election promises like this erodes at their credibility as a whole.

“People really need to consider who they’re listening to at an election campaign because this is a stark reminder that major party candidates will say or do things just to win an election.

“With that said, we appreciate the Deputy Prime Minister taking the time to meet with us, and even though he remained non-committal to funding dredging at One Mile Creek at this stage, he did say he would go back and look at the election commitment that was made and see what channels can be taken to work with myself and the Cardwell community to see if the $1.5 million can be delivered.”

Mr Dametto said he had a Facebook screenshot of the candidate replying to a comment on his former Facebook page saying the dredge funding was “only reliant on an LNP government re-election”.

“I came to Canberra to get an ironclad guarantee from Mr McCormack, who is also Infrastructure Minister, that that the funding would be delivered but it seems all we’ve got is fence sitting,” he said.

“We’ve had a State Shadow Minister and LNP branch members spruiking to the local council and key stakeholders that the money is there, without any evidence or action from the Federal Coalition.

“Let me be frank – if the LNP wants to maintain credibility in the North, they will come good on this one.

“The Coalition were all too willing to dish out some big spending promises to the North during the election. The clock is ticking to see if they put their money where their mouth is.”

Mr Dametto said Cardwell had been “crying out for dredging for almost a decade now and locals have had enough of the political inaction over this from both the LNP and Labor Party”.

“$1.5 million is the kickstart this project needs and it would be a massive step forward in reigniting the Cardwell economy,” he said.

Mr Dametto urged the State Labor Government to come to the table and pitch in with additional funding to fully realise the project.

“More funding is going to be needed to see the One Mile Creek dredging project completed,” he said.

“We need a team effort between all stakeholders to fix the problems of the Port Hinchinbrook development, including both the Federal and State governments. The future of Cardwell’s economy depends on this breadwinning asset being restored to its former glory.”

Mr Dametto said the current antiquated conformed deed was “an obstruction holding this re-development back”.

“This deed states that dredging is the responsibility of Port Hinchinbrook’s developer. The developer is in liquidation. There currently is no developer,” he said.

“How long will the State and local government let Cardwell’s economy suffer before they realise they have a civic responsibility to maintain this State-owned waterway, which the council has the responsibility to maintain and keep clean?

“The Department of State Development needs to rework the conformed deed so residents can move forward with their lives.

“All-tidal access does not just benefit tourism and the local economy but allows Cardwell Coast Guard to respond to vessels in distress at any hour. That could mean the difference between life and death.

“Enough of the political handballing. Let’s make this project happen.”

Nick Dametto MP