$10 mil­lion pledge for Dain­tree

Port Douglas & Mossman Gazette - - NEWS - from page 1

“I’ve been talk­ing to JCU for years about this project.

“I’ll be build­ing the in­ter­pre­tive cen­tre and man­ag­ing it for them.”

Mr Bir­kett said he didn’t think the new cen­tre would de­tract from his Dis­cov­ery Cen­tre.

“I hope not. I do have to be care­ful I don’t kill my other busi­ness,” he said.

“But there are so many op­por­tu­ni­ties, op­por­tu­ni­ties to cre­ate part­ner­ships with mu­se­ums for in­stance.”

While the world-class fa­cil­ity is ex­pected to bring in thou­sands of over­seas re­searchers and sci­en­tists, lo­cally-based boffins may miss out.

It was re­ported last month that the Cairns­based Reef and Rain­for­est Re­search Cen­tre had lost the fed­eral grant to ad­min­is­ter rain­for­est re­search to the Dar­win-based or­gan­i­sa­tion Trop­i­cal Rivers and Coastal Knowl­edge.

While he did not re­ject sup­port­ing the cen­tre, LNP can­di­date for Le­ich­hardt War­ren Entsch said he wanted to see where the money was com­ing from and where it was go­ing.

“I’d be the last one to deny a project like this, but I would pre­fer to fo­cus on the JCU med­i­cal cen­tre, or the Dain­tree Gate­way,” Mr Entsch said.

“I only re­ceived the pro­posal on Mon­day, so I haven’t had a chance to study it prop­erly.

“The con­cept looks fine, but if you’re go­ing to do some­thing, do it prop­erly.

“You need more than $10 mil­lion for a fa­cil­ity like this. You can’t be half­preg­nant.”

Di­vi­sion 10 councillor Ju­lia Leu said the an­nounce­ment was “a fan­tas­tic ini­tia­tive”.

Cr Leu said the com­mu­nity had been ex­plor­ing a pro­posal for a re­search fa­cil­ity in the Dain­tree for sev­eral years.

“This is ex­actly what we’ve been talk­ing about for so long, in terms of our eco­nomic fu­ture.

“It’s a way of util­is­ing the en­vi­ron­ment for eco­nomic devel­op­ment.

“Just this week, dur­ing com­mu­nity con­sul­ta­tions, the idea of diver­si­fy­ing our econ­omy came up yet again.”

It is hoped the fa­cil­ity will be op­er­a­tional in mid-2012.

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