Cardwell set back three years after council vote
PROGRESS in Cardwell has been left in limbo after Cassowary Coast Regional Council knocked back $4.3 million to build a new sewerage treatment plant at Port Hinchinbrook.
Hinchinbrook MP Nick Dametto labelled the decision a “disappointment” after he helped secure the State funding last September after almost three years of hard lobbying. $4.3 million would have gone towards a new $6.3 million plant.
“This decision by council is a kick in the guts to everyone who has fought for the normalisation of Port Hinchinbrook. This decision affects both residents of the development and the entire Cardwell community,” he said.
“We had a $4.3 million golden opportunity to help us finally move forward as we approach the ten-year anniversary of cyclone Yasi. It may not have been the full amount required for council to fix the roads, water and sewage problems of the development but council could have come up with an interim solution while they pursued Federal funding avenues to make up the shortfall to complete the required works. Those avenues were outlined in a recent letter from Prime Minister Scott Morrison in a letter to Kennedy MP Bob Katter, which I outlined publicly just last week.
“To reject this generous funding offer from the State government is close-minded and demonstrates a very clear reason why this part of the Cassowary Coast struggles to recover and move forward.”
Mr Dametto said he categorically rejected the reasoning provided by some councillors for their decision.
“As Cardwell’s division representative, Councillor Barry Barnes should be very busy over the coming days explaining to residents the reasoning behind what he did today in leading a motion to reject this funding,” he said.
“Those councillors that spoke against moving Port Hinchinbrook forward have let the whole community down by hiding behind Port Hinchinbrook’s conformed deed to wash council’s hands of any responsibility for this project. If that’s the case, then why is council getting involved in applying for Federal funding to start the dredging of One Mile Creek? Just like sewage and roads, dredging One Mile is named in the conformed deed as the responsibility of Port Hinchinbrook’s developer, Passage Holdings, which is currently in liquidation.
“Here we have an offer from the State Government to fix a long-standing problem to help residents move forward and it seems as if Council have hit the gift horse in the mouth. This is hypocrisy at its finest.”
Mr Dametto said it was not known where that decision left future maintenance of Port Hinchinbrook’s existing sewage treatment plant, which is currently being maintained by council.
“Residents are now in a state of limbo. They don’t know what the future holds, and we are essentially back to square one due to council’s actions today. This resolution will see the council contact the Department State Development to reject the offer and ask for more money. That will be an interesting conversation.” he said.
“Despite this setback, I will continue to do everything in my power to help these residents who have already been to hell and back.”