ON THE AGENDA | Healthy Reef Partnership withdrawal and more


Howard Salkow

Senior Journalist

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Douglas Shire Council’s about face to The Healthy Reef Partnership will be formalised in Council Chambers on Tuesday when Mayor Julia Leu will move a Notice of Motion to reverse a resolution that was adopted on 18 June this year.

At the June Council meeting, the resolution was presented as a significant step for the Shire to become the country’s newest carbon neutral region.

In resolving to work with Qantas, Tourism Port Douglas Daintree (TPDD) and GreenCollar – under the Healthy Reef Partnership to offset the Council’s carbon footprint through carbon sequestration projects in Queensland – it was advised that this initiative would further push the Great Barrier Reef and Daintree Rainforest in front of a growing ecotourism market.

Of the mayor and four Councillors, Cr Michael Kerr was alone in his opposition of the initiative.

Council came under intense scrutiny and there was considerable backlash from politicians, community leaders, and captains of industry.

At the end of last month, Council revealed that negotiations had broken down with Qantas.

Newsport reported that 18 months of discussions between Council and Qantas were literally washed away when additional and unacceptable requests were made during negotiations into a Healthy Reef Partnership forcing any agreement to be stalled.

An airline spokesperson said Qantas Future Planet “has been in discussions with Douglas Shire Council for the past 18 months, however, we have been unable to finalise an agreement.”

Mayor Leu then advised she would be putting forward a motion at the 10 September Ordinary Council Meeting proposing Council stops negotiating the proposed partnership with Qantas.

Meanwhile, DSC CEO, Mark Stoermer has cast doubt over Council’s decision to work towards a carbon-neutral future.

Addressing a Think Tank in Mossman at the weekend, Mr Stoermer said: “We are taking a step back to think through the whole process and we are starting that discussion very soon.

“We will take a step back and think about the whole entire strategy.”

At Tuesday’s meeting, it will be recommended to repeal the following resolution:

  • Join the Healthy Reef Partnership for a three-year term with financial terms as specified in the closed session report;
  • Consider adoption of the National Carbon Offset Standard;
  • Commit to carbon mitigation projects which will reduce Council’s carbon footprint;
  • Investigate carbon offset projects located within the Douglas Shire; and
  • Delegate authority under Section 257 of the Local Government Act 2009 to the Chief Executive Officer to finalise any and all matters associated with the contract.

Council will then be asked to undertake the following:

  • Consider adoption of the National Carbon Offset Standard;
  • Commit to carbon mitigation projects which will reduce Council’s carbon footprint;
  • Investigate carbon offset projects located within the Douglas Shire. 

Douglas Shire Council ordinary meeting
Tuesday, 10 September 2019 10:00am

1. Indigenous language signage (ILS) - project funding of stage
2. Monthly financial report august 2019
3. Audit committee terms of reference
4. Audit committee members
5. Standing orders for council meetings general policy
6. Christmas close down period 2019
7. Repeal resolution and move a motion for The Healthy Reef Partnership

Closed session

1. Contractual matter s275 (e) local government regulation 2012 - Martin Scullett drive pump station replacement
2. Prejudicial matter s275 (1)(h) and (e) local government regulation 2012 - internal audit plan 2019-2022

For more information, see the full agenda on the Douglas Shire Council website.

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