Petition launched opposing Healthy Reef Partnership

POLITICS

Howard Salkow

Senior Journalist

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Opposition to Council's Healthy Reef Partnership with Qantas Future Planet, GreenCollar and Tourism Port Douglas Daintree (TPDD), continues to mount with the latest action being a petition launched by Daintree Renewable Energy Inc.


Titled “Stop the Douglas Shire Council from purchasing unwanted Carbon Credits”, its president Russell O'Doherty said he already had close on 200 signatures; a number he expects to significantly rise before the petition is presented to the Minister for Local Government, Stirling Hinchliffe, and Douglas Shire CEO Mark Stoermer.


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At an open council meeting on 18 June, Council resolved to become the country’s newest carbon neutral region by aligning itself with the aforementioned partners.

Mayor Julia Leu said the partnership reinforced Douglas Shire’s position as the leading sustainable tropical destination. The partnership enables Council to become carbon neutral by purchasing premium carbon offsets located in Rawbelle, Queensland.

A carbon offset is a reduction in emissions of carbon dioxide or other greenhouse gases made in order to compensate for emissions made elsewhere. Offsets are measured in tonnes of carbon dioxide-equivalent.

Cr Michael Kerr was the lone councillor to oppose the project and since its announcement, the decision has been greeted with an overwhelming negative response from Newsport readers.

The contention is why Council is spending an estimated $660,000 over three years on a project in remote Rawbelle, in the North Burnett Regional Council, about 450km inland of Bundaberg; which will not benefit this shire and the money could be better spent in the Douglas Shire.

Mr O’Doherty says in the petition: “We the people of the Douglas Shire believe that the Council has not operated in due process that ensures the financial and beneficial interests of the local community.

“No open community consultation occurred to discuss this process or any plan of becoming Carbon Neutral and spending hundreds of thousands of dollars doing so.”

He adds: “We believe that the Mayor has misled the residents and ratepayers of the Shire by saying that the entire Shire would be carbon neutral when in fact it is only the Council office that will qualify to be Carbon Neutral.”

The petition can be viewed here.


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