De-amalgamation will cost
RATEPAYERS in the Douglas region will wear the full cost of deamalgamation if it occurs, Member for Cook David Kempton reiterated yesterday.
The new LNP State Government sat for the first time on Tuesday and Mr Kempton was sworn in as Assistant Minister for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Affairs.
Mr Kempton promised to begin the de-amalgamation process within 100 days of the LNP being elected, leaving him 46 days to deliver.
“We’re in the process of discussions with the boundaries commissioner and the Port Douglas shire has been accepted by David Crisafulli, the Minister for Local government,” he said.
“We’ve pledge a referendum and that will happen, the obvious thing is people need to vote on several issues.
“One - do you want to de-amalgamate from the Cairns Regional Council?
“Two - are they aware they will wear the costs of that process.
“Three - they need to know the cost.
“Four - they need to know the long-term viability of the new shire and five - what happens to their residual shire, it’s important to consider if Cairns is viable on its own.”
Premier Campbell Newman has made it clear the cost of de-amalgamating would be borne by the de-amalgamating shire, despite it being the State Government which decided to amalgamate the region.
Former premier Anna Bligh promised that all proceeds raised by the State Government from free-holding the Meridien Marina would be put back into the Port Douglas Master Plan, however the same commitment from the new government is yet to be made.
“Freehold money in terms of the cost of the master plan is reasonably insignificant, we need to look at what can be achieved in the long term,” Mr Kempton said.
“If they’re serious about bringing a master plan about, we need to look at how it will be implemented and funded long-term.
“We’ve given consideration to the freehold, it’s not a high priority on the table.”
But Mr Kempton has given his commitment to building a roundabout at the Captain Cook High Way turn-off into Port Douglas - with community concensus.
“If that’s what the community wants, we could also turn it into a gateway,” he said.
“This is an opportunity to gain a gateway to Douglas and the Daintree as well, but we’re not going to impose a roundabout if it’s not wanted.
“I’ve had some primary discussions with the regional division of main roads and need community consensus on what they want to see happen.”
If you want to express your opinion on a roundabout at the intersection email firstname.lastname@example.org