LETTER | Kerr responds


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Dear Editor,

I had originally composed a letter addressing the notions of real and authentic consultation which, despite the incumbent mayor’s claims, I am constantly told by locals is missing in our community and also answering queries I’ve had from locals about why I was not invited by council to the presentation of a DSC grant to The Port Douglas Marine Rescue (MRPD) and Mossman State High School Student Trainee Coxswain program.

However, Crispin Hull’s histrionic and factually bereft opinion published on 12 March requires an immediate and considered response. To say I am disappointed that such a well-educated, professional businessman and well-respected journalist can write in this way is an understatement.

Firstly, on the Gazette’s online poll and the notion of tactics. When he attacks ‘the people’ in my campaign as allegedly skewing the poll, remember one thing - he is not attacking me, he is attacking you, the people of the shire and supporters of the Gazette and subsequently Newsport, who ran the later poll, so he is attacking the Gazette, Newsport and the press itself. Very Trumpian, Crispin. He is attacking people who want to have their say and in doing so, he is the one subverting democracy.

A question, Crispin. How do you feel about the tactic of what appears to be a well-orchestrated army of letter writers, including you, and the stream of mistruths and accusations to sow discord about my campaign?

As for your claims about me implying a woman is not up for the job, shame on you. I’ve never once implied this, and you should IMMEDIATELY retract this defamatory claim.

Now, to answer the raft of mistruths you have put forward.

YOUR CLAIM: I want to “expropriate council monies to turn it into private profit”.
FACT: Besides skating on very thin defamatory ice with this, none of us, me included, want an overdeveloped shire, wiped clean of its essential essence. But a declining economy, reversing population and an over-reliance on the Tourism and Agricultural sectors, all mean we need to diversify the economy to plan for the future.

YOUR CLAIM: “Blowing out the Planning Scheme.”
FACT: Currently, we don’t have enough permanent housing to deal with the developments already DA approved. Short-term letting has taken a massive chunk of our residential housing, and neither do we have enough suitable, safe and cost-appropriate housing for our elderly. If that means allowing some sustainably considered development on the west side of the highway, then that is exactly what a sensible, realistic council that cares about its ratepayers should do.

YOUR CLAIM: “Loosening Height limits.”
FACT: Not one candidate in this election has called for this, so before you make state complete mistruths, do your research.

YOUR CLAIM: “Inappropriate infrastructure in the Daintree.”
FACT: The mayor and her supporters have a tin-ear on this. People north of the river have constantly told me they want an environmentally friendly, safe and appropriate power supply, something EVERY ratepayer in our shire deserves. They are also screaming out for improved roads, amongst a range of other essential matters council should be attending to. If this is inappropriate infrastructure, then your idea of inappropriate differs dramatically to mine and those of people living north of the Daintree.

YOUR CLAIM: “Existing ratepayers footing the bill for improved infrastructure for new residents.”
FACT: With a dwindling population, leading to a shrinking of the ratepayer base, and an economy that is failing unless it is diversified to keep our shire alive, there will be less money to pay for any infrastructure. Maybe you should ask the incumbent mayor about ratepayers footing the bill for a certain land purchase in the Daintree or the withdrawal of a project midstream and the appropriateness of that?

CLAIM: “A grab bag of statistics.”
FACT: Look to council’s budget and the highly reputable Economy.id where all the data and stats I’ve used have been collected from. These are not myths or rumours, they are facts. Council might appear to be tracking along well with the mayor’s ever-diminishing forecast surplus, but businesses aren’t, ratepayers aren’t and the shire overall is not. At what cost has this surplus come? Simply – at the cost of basics the shire is crying out for.

There is more I could counter with against this hysterical outpouring from Crispin, but instead, I urge the community to look outside your door, look at the facts on sites such as economy.id, compare what this council offers you compared to that offered by other councils to your friends and relatives who live elsewhere. Stop listening to contrived letters to the editor sent by surrogates of the mayor and when you go to vote and execute your democratic rights, vote on facts, not opinions.

Enjoy your yacht, your holiday-letting property and your comfortable position Crispin. Too many in the shire don’t have these luxuries and are struggling to survive. All they want is a council that is more engaged with them and will see to it that their basic needs are met now and in the future.

The fact is, this will be the council I run if elected mayor.

Helen of Troy might have started the Trojan War, but Crispin’s opinion proves that “not all’s fair, in love and war” or rather “not all’s fact (at least from some candidates), in elections and politics.”

- Michael Kerr - 2020 local election mayoral candidate

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