Today Federal Member for Leichhardt Warren Entsch joined forces with key stakeholders from the local tourism, business and wider community to create a plan of attack and a pro?active campaign to get the Port Douglas Waterfront Precinct development underway.
The stakeholders emerged from hours of talks with excitement and a united front ready for action.
“Today is a great day for Port Douglas as we now have absolute consensus from the key stakeholders on what is required to get the show on the road,” Mr Entsch said.
The group of passionate locals spearheaded by local business identity George Humphries say it is about time Government invested in the idyllic town and gave the community a much needed economic boost in the wake of the GFC.
“$15 million is all they need to get this iconic project started. It is a relatively small amount of money which will have far reaching benefits for the Port Douglas and surrounding area,” Mr Entsch said.
The group today released detailed plans and a vision for the first component of the waterfront precinct The Lagoon.
“The final configuration will be the result of community consultation, but what we now have is a detailed concept and a dollar value target to work with to get this project moving sooner rather than later,” he said.
Warren Entsch said one of the main reasons he is getting involved in key stakeholder talks in Cairns and Port Douglas at present is he believes the communities have forgotten how to ask for the money as they are used to doing it all under their own steam.
“I became concerned that Port Douglas and to a lesser degree Cairns has really forgotten how to ask for financial support for their region. Port Douglas has for years prospered on the investment of private enterprise and entrepreneurial individuals. We now need to start looking at supporting the community at a time of need and provide what is a relatively modest amount of Government funding to help reinvigorate the economy.
“Both State and Federal Governments have benefited for decades on the back of the success of Port Douglas and it is now time for Government to invest something back into the community as a sign of confidence,
Mr Entsch says it will be a project that will provide many benefits for locals and tourists.
“While tourists will certainly appreciate it, the overwhelming majority of people that will end up using it will be locals I am sure. This will be a wonderful community asset that will bring to Port Douglas what the Esplanade Lagoon has brought to Cairns,
“I am calling on the Federal Government to support this and I will be urging the State Government to get behind it also. There is a State Election next year so I will be reminding our local State representatives of this,” he said.
The outspoken Federal Member said that one of the biggest frustrations he was faced with coming into the 2010 Federal Election was that he knew Port Douglas needed assistance, but there was no financial target the community had in mind for him to work with.
“Now we have a dollar amount and detailed plans and a solid consensus from everyone as to what they require, we can get to work and make this happen. A project of this size will be a real shot in the arm for the confidence of Port Douglas.”
Warren Entsch says he will be calling on Simon Crean to inject some of his $10 billion in regional development funds to help get the project off the ground.
“A development like this will have an infectious affect. It will bring confidence and with confidence comes further private enterprise investment. It may very well be the catalyst we need to get a buyer for the Sheraton Mirage and large scale investment in new resorts and large scale refurbishments on existing establishments.”