Teamwork the key to dredge dream
A TOTAL team effort between the Cardwell community, Cassowary Coast Regional Council and Hinchinbrook MP Nick Dametto could be the key to unlocking State and Federal funding to dredge One Mile Creek.
Mr Dametto recently visited Molongle Creek at Gumlu south of Townsville to gain an understanding of how the Molongle Creek Boat Club worked with the Whitsunday Regional Council and Transport and Main Roads (TMR) to secure $5 million from the State Government to gain all-tidal access.
“My meeting with the club’s project officer, Joe Linton, made clear to me that an important element of their success was the ability for local community groups and their council to work together to lobby the State Government on such a project,” he said.
“I have been in constant dialogue with all stakeholders regarding Port Hinchinbrook and One Mile Creek. Whether it’s the Cassowary Coast Regional Council, Port Hinchinbrook mortgagee Sino or the Cardwell community, we all need to be on the same page so we can achieve an outcome.”
Molongle Creek’s boat ramp received $5 million under TMR’s Marine Infrastructure Fund for dredging to provide all-tidal access to boaties.
A further $890,000 was tipped in by the Federal Government for a two-storey multipurpose complex featuring a manager’s residence, shop, office, café, rescue vessel, water taxi storage and mechanic’s workshop.
“This sort of funding is not out of the question for Cardwell if we’re all pulling in the same direction to convince the government of the need to fund this project,” Mr Dametto said.
Meanwhile, the government’s refusal to dredge One Mile Creek means Cardwell will once again miss out on another economically lucrative tourist season.
“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 for too long all levels of government had been banking on a “White Knight” investor to come in and take on the development and save Port Hinchinbrook, but the sticking point for any party looking to progress Port Hinchinbrook is the confirmed deed.
“From where I’m standing, the Department of State Development need to rework the deed in order for the development to move forward. The State Government needs to take on the responsibility of maintaining the state-owned waterways to guarantee access to the One Mile Creek boat ramp which is a breadwinning asset of the Cardwell community,” he said.
“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.
“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.
“The time has come for local government and all stakeholders to put their differences aside and start working together to lobby the State government to take on the responsibility of maintaining One Mile Creek.”