FEDERAL MP for Leichhardt Warren Entsch has welcomed the State Government’s decision to rescind controversial Daintree Power legislation that has left residents ‘off the grid’ for 12 years.
The issue is one that Mr Entsch has long advocated for and he has today called on the Federal Government to also step up and ease the constraints on those living and working in the Daintree.
“There is a very significant role for the Federal Government to play here, given the restrictions and increased cost factors that World Heritage status places on residents and the fact that this legislation was imposed by the Federal Government,” he said.
“Residents now need to look hard at the options available to them. This is a great opportunity to showcase world’s best practice in installing electricity infrastructure in a World Heritage area.
“It can be distributed underground along existing road networks and I’m sure residents would also welcome the chance to have the telecommunication and IT systems upgraded at the same time.”
Mr Entsch said one option could be continuation of mains power along Forest Creek Road through to Cape Kimberley, and to the base of the Alexandra Range, with power nodes for the Cow Bay, Coopers Creek and Cape Tribulation areas. From the northern end, power could be extended from Bloomfield and Wujal Wujal to areas like Bloomfield Lodge.
“This is just one idea, but people need to start giving some thought as to how fair and affordable power can be delivered to this area without impacting on the environmental integrity.
“However, I’m sure that anything we do will be better than retaining the status quo and using generators, which are one of the least environmentally-friendly ways of generating power.”
Mr Entsch said the decision may also provide some level of relief for businesses, whose biggest cost has been generating power. “This could come just in time for many of these businesses who have been pushed to the edge,” he said.
“We need these discussions to start straight away – this has been a long time coming and it’s one of the reasons I returned to politics, because I saw it as unfinished business.
“This is a major step in removing some of the discrimination that clearly exists for residents and businesses of the Daintree Coast community.”
Warren Entsch and David Kempton addressed around 60 Daintree residents at the Alexandra Bay Sports Ground on Saturday, 8th December.
To view the State Government media release, click here