Petition opposing carbon offset program presented to council


Howard Salkow

Senior Journalist

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Douglas Shire Council has been presented with a petition opposing its Healthy Reef Partnership with Qantas Future Planet, GreenCollar and Tourism Port Douglas Daintree (TPDD). The petition attracted more than 670 signatories.

A Council spokesperson confirmed today that the petition had been received and Council will be reviewing its contents over the next few days.

Council also confirmed that community meetings to outline the details of the Healthy Reef Partnership, and what it will mean to the shire, will most likely be held in mid-August, with dates to be finalised later.

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.

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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.

This decision was vehemently opposed by Councillor Michael Kerr, who was out voted by his fellow councillors David Carey, Abigail Noli, Roy Zammataro and Mayor Leu.

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.

In opposing the partnership, Russell O’Doherty, president of Daintree Renewable Energy Inc. launched the petition titled “Stop the Douglas Shire Council from purchasing unwanted Carbon Credits”.

And in addition to the petition, Kym Rowley, a Councillor candidate in the Local Government election in March next year, sent a note to Mayor Leu requesting community meetings in Port Douglas and Mossman to elaborate on this decision. She immediately agreed to the request.

O’Doherty said today he was delighted with the response and is now looking forward to the community meetings to learn more about why the decision was taken and what it will mean to the Douglas Shire.

Douglas Shire Council has standing orders in relation to petitions submitted. They are:

1. Any petition presented to a meeting of Council shall:

  • be in legible writing or typewritten and contain a minimum of ten (10) signatures
  • must include the name and contact details of the Principal Petitioner (i.e., one person who is the organiser and who will act as the key contact for the issue)
  • include the postcode of all petitioners, and
  • have the details of the specific request/matter appear on each page of the petition.

2. Where a Councillor presents a petition to a meeting of Council no debate on or in relation to it shall be allowed and the only motion which may be moved is that:

  • the petition be received; or
  • the petition be received and referred to a responsible officer for consideration and a report to Council; or the petition not be received because it is deemed invalid.

3. Council will respond to the Principal Petitioner in relation to all petitions deemed valid.

The petition can be viewed here. 

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