PM leaves door open on sewage plant funding

Hinchinbrook MP Nick Dametto at Port Hinchinbrook.

PRIME Minister Scott Morrison has encouraged Cassowary Coast Regional Council to tap into key Federal infrastructure programs that could help fund Port Hinchinbrook’s new sewage treatment plant.

Responding to a letter from Kennedy MP Bob Katter that was backed by Hinchinbrook MP Nick Dametto, Mr Morrison said council would be receiving more $3.8 million from the Commonwealth Financial Assistance Grant program in its 2020-21 allocation to be spent on “locally determined priorities and projects across the community”.

Council can also access more than $2 million to fast track “shovel-ready” projects in the community under the Local Roads and Community Infrastructure program while Mr Morrison also encouraged council to consider applying for a slice of $200 million offered in round five of the Building Better Regions Fund. $100 million of that funding is dedicated to tourism-related infrastructure projects.

Up to $4.3 million in conditional funding for the STP was secured by Hinchinbrook MP Nick Dametto from the State Government last September but council still needs another $4.3 million to complete the project to avoid charging Port Hinchinbrook residents $4500 per annum for sewage services.

“While not a firm commitment to match funding for the STP, the Prime Minister does highlight several opportunities for council which I urge them to explore,” Mr Dametto said.

“Bob, myself and Cardwell residents know just how important this project is to helping unlock the town’s true tourism potential. Council should waste no time in exploring each of these funding avenues the Prime Minister has highlighted in order to complete this project.”

In his letter to Mr Morrison, Mr Katter said it was “simply unconscionable to me that I find myself in a position to lobby your government to assist in providing a basic human right of successfully flushing your toilet”.

“We simply cannot expect to grow this great nation through beneficial infrastructure development if we are unable to support communities with such a basic essential service and the minimum required foundations to promote economic growth in this electorate,” Mr Katter wrote.

Nick Dametto MP