Daintree Ferry: How did we get there? - Part two

DAINTREE FERRY

Howard Salkow

Senior Journalist

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This is the second of a two-part series about the Daintree Ferry which asks how we got to where we are now.

Mayor Kerr clearly understands the importance of the Daintree Ferry, and its role in the shire for both locals and visitors.

And he readily concedes that the ferry has been a contentious issue for as long as he can remember.

“It has often been discussed whether a ferry is still appropriate or is it time for a bridge. I have been very up front in that I believed that the consultation that was completed first missed a whole segment: the rate payers; the people, whose money we are using for these projects.

“The whole financial model of the two-ferry system was locked in a closed session and that also was something that I strongly objected to,” said Kerr.

Kerr says it has always been a contentious issue and the only way to solve it was to bring it to the forefront.

This led to the six-week public consultation held last year which saw around two thirds of respondents vote in favour of a two-ferry system over a bridge.


RELATED:
- Daintree Ferry: How did we get there? - Part one
- Council makes landmark decision on Daintree ferry future



Definitive direction

“We do have a definitive direction now. We own the asset and we are planning towards the two-ferry system. Prior to this we were at the mercy of the owners of the ferry.

“The seller’s price of $4.5 million was an excessive amount to pay for a ferry that had been valued at $800k. Unfortunately, we would have lost a lot more if we did not have a ferry come 1 July. The last time the ferry was out of action for a week businesses and residents advised that they lost far more in economy and reputation. This had to be considered.

“The resolution of this issue is to move forward with the two-ferry system.”

Newsport yesterday reported that it could take months to see the results of the probity audit which will cover the period from initial consultations in 2018 until now.

According to a Council spokesman, once the auditors have been appointed they are expected to complete their report in coming months.

“Douglas Shire Council, in conjunction with its Audit Committee, is preparing a scope of works and request for quotes to be released in coming weeks.

“A list of potential probity auditors will be provided to the Audit Committee which will make a recommendation for Council to consider.

“Once selected, the appointed auditors are expected to complete their report in the coming months,” a spokesman said.

Prices increased

As we await the audit of the Daintree ferry contract renewal, new ticket prices for the Ferry Crossing will be implemented next month after they were unanimously adopted at a Council Meeting in Mossman on Tuesday.

The increases will kick in on 1 July 2021 and will see the cost for a single vehicle move from $18 to $23 for a one-way ticket, and from $31 to $39 for a return trip.


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