Cardwell suffers at hands of Labor’s inaction
A REFUSAL by the State Labor Government to dredge One Mile Creek means Cardwell will once again miss out on another economically lucrative tourist season.
Almost nine months after Hinchinbrook MP Nick Dametto brought representatives from Port Hinchinbrook mortgagee Sino, Cassowary Coast Regional Council and maintenance firm Norship Marine to Cardwell for a discussion on how to restore Port Hinchinbrook to its former glory, the government refuses to give the town much-needed all-tidal access.
“I believe the government has a responsibility to all Queenslanders to properly maintain its state-owned waterways,” Mr Dametto said.
“They need to stop hiding behind an antiquated conformed deed which states dredging is the responsibility of Port Hinchinbrook’s developer. Cardwell is suffering because of this inaction by the government.”
Under the conformed deed which was signed by the State, Commonwealth, local council and original Port Hinchinbrook developer Williams Corporation in 1994, it was agreed that the developer assumed responsibility for the maintenance of the grand canal access channel, marina basin, roads and sewage treatment plant.
However, Port Hinchinbrook’s current developer, Passage Holdings, was placed into liquidation in 2017. Last year, the Cairns Supreme Court determined Sino-Resource Import and Export Co Ltd was the legitimate mortgagee of Port Hinchinbrook.
Mr Dametto said the sticking point for all parties involved in progressing Port Hinchinbrook had been the confirmed deed, which the Department of State Development “needed to rework in order to give the State Government more responsibility for this breadwinning asset of the Cardwell community”.
“This is a clear case of the State Government shirking their responsibility to the people of Cardwell and Port Hinchinbrook, who have long been hamstrung by the lack of access to One Mile Creek,” he said.
“Dredging does not simply benefit the developer. It ensures all-tidal access for Cardwell Coast Guard and boat users in area, boosting both tourism and the local economy.”
Mr Dametto said a lack of all-tidal access was hindering visitation to the area, which meant local businesses continued to struggle.
“Cardwell residents are sick and tired of being in the doldrums. The town survives on tourism from grey nomads and international visitors, both of which are being stifled,” he said.
“On top of that, you have a serious safety issue where Cardwell’s Coast Guard vessel has been left unable to respond to any potential vessels in distress on multiple occasions during low tide.
“It’s time Labor realised that and stopped holding the people of Cardwell to ransom.”
In a January media statement, Transport and Main Roads Minister Mark Bailey boasted about a $5 million dredging project to deliver all-tidal access to Molongle Creek boat ramp in the Whitsunday region.
“This is hypocrisy of the highest order,” Mr Dametto said.
“The government has no issues in contributing to the costs of dredging Molongle Creek but can’t do the same for One Mile Creek. What’s the hold up?”
At present, boaties need about a 1.7m tide to leave Port Hinchinbrook and One Mile Creek safely, a full metre more than outside the creek entrance.