The ratepayers’ association for the Daintree Cape Tribulation area has called upon the Queensland Government to adopt a new policy for the provision of electricity, which protects the environment to the greatest possible extent and overcomes the contradictions of hundreds of concurrently running engine generators.
In response, Mr. Phil Reeves MP, Parliamentary Secretary to the Premier of Queensland, has referred to advice from the Minister for Mines and Energy, the Hon. Geoff Wilson,
“The aim of the Government’s policy is to protect the rainforests in this World Heritage area and to safeguard the aesthetics of this unspoilt region.”
From Minister Wilson’s Office,
“We’re not about to bulldoze through ancient rainforest to put in power lines north of the Daintree River. We’re talking about world-famous, world heritage-listed rainforest and everyone would want it to stay that way.”
Such a response has born false witness, inflaming public opinion against the custodial community. Bulldozing World Heritage rainforests was never proposed; the mere suggestion is as mischievous as it is unethical.
Mr. Reeves MP, has admitted,
“The Government has not changed its position of discouraging development north of the Daintree River…”
This admission, in itself, is appalling, except for its candour. Members of the local community have long suspected that such a position was at play, but can now deal with the formal acknowledgment from the Office of the Premier.
Development in the Daintree is heavily regulated by the Queensland Government, under the Integrated Planning Act 1997 and to an even greater extent through the Iconic Places of Queensland Act 2008.
Development in the Daintree is already more rigorously constrained than probably anywhere else in Queensland. So the ‘development’ that the imposition of prohibitively expensive, polluting and aesthetically contemptuous electricity specifically ‘discourages’, can only be existing development; that being the only development that exists.
Despite the Queensland Government having previously promised freehold landowners within the World Heritage Area, that they would be helped to implement the Wet Tropics Plan to the maximum extent, the impacts of the Government’s discouragement of existing development is manifestly anti-environment and anti-tourism.