Healthy Reef Partnership negotiations with Qantas break down

DOUGLAS SHIRE COUNCIL

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Douglas Shire Council will cease current negotiations with Qantas regarding the Healthy Reef Partnership and focus on local green projects instead.


Mayor Julia Leu announced she will put forward a motion at the 10 September Ordinary Council Meeting proposing Council stops negotiating the proposed partnership with Qantas.

A resolution passed at yesterday’s closed Council meeting, directed Council to purchase land in the Douglas Shire for tree planting, habitat regeneration, and wetland restoration after negations with the airline stalled.

At a Council meeting on Tuesday, 18 June this year, Council voted to enter into a partnership with Qantas, Tourism Port Douglas Daintree (TPDD) and GreenCollar to offset the Council’s carbon footprint through carbon sequestration projects.

The original plan would have enabled Douglas Shire Council to become carbon neutral by purchasing premium carbon offsets located in Rawbelle, Queensland and provide marketing opportunities with Qantas.


Related Coverage:
COUNCILLOR SPEAKS OUT AGAINST CARBON OFFSET PROPOSAL
CARBON CREDITS: PETITION BRUSHED ASIDE; TPDD BOARD IN DARK
COUNCIL LAUNCHES EDUCATION PROCESS TO BETTER UNDERSTAND CARBON-OFFSET PROJECT
COUNCIL CANDIDATE WEIGHS IN ON REEF PARTNERSHIP DECISION


However, Douglas Shire Mayor Julia Leu said the negotiations with Qantas regarding the Healthy Reef Partnership had not progressed in recent weeks.

“Unfortunately, the partnership does not appear to be moving forward and we have been unable to complete the deal,” she said.

“We would like to thank Qantas for their time over the past few months and look forward to potentially working with them down the track.”

As part of the resolution passed yesterday, Council will instead investigate avenues to purchase land within the Douglas Shire to host carbon-offset projects.

Residents and community groups will be able to work with the Council and get involved in the eco-initiatives on the land.

It is yet to be determined where Council will purchase the land but yesterday’s resolution sets in motion the governmental mechanisms to shift the focus of the project back onto the Douglas Shire.

“Council has snapped into action on a plan to invest in a local project that will offset our carbon footprint as we continue to work on reducing our emissions,” Mayor Leu said.

“Investing in local regeneration projects will give the most long-term value for ratepayers and we know the broader community wants Council to work on projects that protect the environment and develop the economy.”


Related Letters:
LETTER | QUESTIONS FOR COUNCIL ABOUT CARBON OFFSET PLAN
LETTER | WHY I VOTED FOR THE HEALTHY REEF PARTNERSHIP
LETTER | HEALTHY REEF PARTNERSHIP A FARCE OF POLICY
LETTER | THE HEALTHY REEF PARTNERSHIP WILL BENEFIT DOUGLAS


The initial decision to pursue the Healthy Reef Partnership was not unanimous, with Councillor Michael Kerr speaking against the motion in June, and reception from parts of the Douglas Shire community was vocally negative.

Council will also host community consultation sessions through public workshops and on-site visits to encourage involvement and ownership over the local projects.

Residents and community groups will be asked to register their interest on the Council’s website soon to receive information about the project and consultation opportunities.

Mayor Leu said the Council is still dedicated to becoming carbon neutral region as well as an eco-tourism destination.

“By aiming for carbon neutrality and encouraging our tourism industry to do the same, we will further position Douglas Shire as an ecotourism powerhouse,” she said.

Council will continue to work with Tourism Port Douglas Daintree on the 2019-20 Operational Plan initiative to achieve Eco Destination Certification.


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