Fate of Port Hinchinbrook rests with council
THE future of Port Hinchinbrook rests with Cassowary Coast Regional Council as the State government makes one final offer for a new sewage treatment plant.
Hinchinbrook MP Nick Dametto said he understood council was in negotiations with the State over funding necessary to replace the development’s failing STP after they originally knocked back $4.3 million in State funding at a council meeting in January.
“Council’s decision was extremely disappointing and has significantly damaged its relationship with the people of Cardwell who were hopeful this funding would start the process of the normalisation of Port Hinchinbrook. This would be an important step to help the development and the community move forward,” he said.
“I’ve advocated that all three levels of government need to be part of the long-term solution for Port Hinchinbrook. The State government has shown they are prepared to roll up their sleeves and now it’s council’s turn.”
Mr Dametto said last year’s State budget had revealed allocated funds for Port Hinchinbrook.
“If you examine last year’s budget papers closely, it appears the State government actually allocated $6.4 million for a new STP whereas before last year’s election, they offered council up to $4.3 million in conditional funding. After the original funding offer was rejected, I made contact with the State Development Minister to discuss a way forward. Negotiations between council and the State are commercial in confidence but I reckon it would be safe to say there is potentially another $2 million that’s available. $6.3 million is enough to cover the full cost of building a new STP,” he said.
“My understanding is council will have until their next meeting on March 11 to accept or reject the State’s offer. It has been made clear to me that this will be the State’s final offer. There is no more left in the bucket after this.
“The ball is squarely in the court of the Mayor, the Division 1 councillor and the five other councillors. They will either be remembered as the brave ones who worked to come to the aid of long-suffering Port Hinchinbrook ratepayers or the councillors who turned their back on them and looked a gift horse in the mouth.”