Dredge refusal puts lives at risk: Dametto

FURIOUS Hinchinbrook MP Nick Dametto is ropeable with the State Labor Government for abandoning Cardwell and putting lives at risk after yet another refusal to dredge One Mile Creek.

Mr Dametto, who on behalf Cardwell residents tabled a petition in parliament back in March with 1355 signatures calling on the State to dredge One Mile Creek, said it was insulting that State Development Minister Cameron Dick’s official response used the same tired excuse that dredging the channel was the responsibility of Port Hinchinbrook’s developer.

“Hiding behind the conformed deed that states the dredging is the responsibility of the developer is a cop out,” the Katter’s Australian Party MP said.

“Mr Dick knows full well that Cardwell’s Coast Guard vessel has been left unable to respond to any potential vessels in distress on multiple occasions during low tide.

“This is not just about improving access for recreational and commercial boat users – this is primarily a safety issue. It’s time Labor realised that and stopped holding the people of Cardwell to ransom.”

Mr Dametto said it was “only a matter of time before we see a maritime fatality which could have been avoided”.

“The coast guard vessel needs access to One Mile Creek to perform its duties as a life-saving service,” he said.

“I will hold Mr Dick personally responsible for any catastrophic incident that results from this unacceptable risk. Mark my words, the State Government will have blood on their hands.”

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 month, the Cairns Supreme Court determined Sino-Resource Import and Export Co Ltd was the legitimate mortgagee of Port Hinchinbrook.

Mr Dametto said the long-running financial saga over Port Hinchinbrook was a side issue that should see the State Government take responsibility for the State-owned waterway and ensure One Mile Creek was properly maintained.

“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.

“We will not give up on this fight for all tidal access to One Mile Creek. The people of Cardwell deserve better.”

Nick Dametto MP