Entsch to lead talks on Daintree issues

DAINTREE MEETINGS

Howard Salkow

Senior Journalist

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Member for Leichhardt Warren Entsch will attend meetings on the Daintree on Tuesday. IMAGE: Supplied.
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THE on-going challenge to obtain power and the future of the Daintree River crossing will take centre stage in the Daintree on Tuesday and Warren Entsch, the Federal MP for Leichhardt, will be leading the charge to make some headway in what can only be described as highly contentious issues.

The Daintree community has decided to hold separate meetings. The power forum – which is open to the public – will be at 4pm and the ferry crossing forum – which is by invitation only – will take place at 7pm. Both are being held at the Heritage Lodge & Spa.

A spokesperson for the organising committee said these two gatherings could be the most significant in recent times in the town’s history.

“We want to hear what the community has to say, how they feel about the two matters and we want to learn what further action Warren can take,” the spokesperson said.

“Warren will be playing a key role in these forums. He has supported us for many years and we are looking forward to his input on Tuesday.”

Because of the emotional nature of the ferry crossing, the organisers decided to make it an ‘invitation only’ meeting to avoid any disruptions.

The struggle for power has been hotly contested and ever since being elected to the House of Representatives in 1996, Entsch has been in the forefront in the fight for an electricity grid in the Daintree.


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Numerous options have been provided, but nothing has reached fruition. Last year, Queensland Resources Council chief executive Ian Macfarlane called on the federal government to invest in a high-technology power station for North Queensland.

Macfarlane said a chunk of the $5 billion Northern Australia Infrastructure Fund could be used for a modern high efficiency, low emission (HELE) power plant. However, there was no indication at the time whether the Daintree would benefit.

Entsch has been equally vocal on the ferry crossing to the north of the Daintree and was particularly scathing when the ferry was shut down for five days of maintenance late last month, citing a lack of consultation and a setback for businesses as major caveats which should have been resolved earlier.

The outspoken Entsch said two options should be considered: the introduction of a second ferry; or the construction of a bridge across the river.

“And we are not talking about another Sydney Harbour Bridge. I want to stress the point that we can do something and why these forums are important. Let’s hear what the community has to say and then act accordingly,” he said.


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