Dain­tree in power play

Port Douglas & Mossman Gazette - - NEWS - ANGELIQUE PAT­TER­SON

DAIN­TREE res­i­dents north of the river are gain­ing con­fi­dence in the State Gov­ern­ment’s prom­ise to re­scind leg­is­la­tion pro­hibit­ing power.

In 2000 state leg­is­la­tion was es­tab­lished pro­hibit­ing peo­ple from gain­ing or shar­ing ac­cess to elec­tric­ity.

De­spite all par­ties re­fus­ing to com­mit to help­ing Dain­tree gain elec­tric­ity last year be­fore the elec­tion was an­nounced, pres­i­dent of the Bai­ley Creek Community League Rus­sell O’Do­herty said Premier Camp­bell New­man has since given his word.

“We’ve got it in writ­ing from Camp­bell New­man the LNP will be re­scind­ing La­bor’s pol­icy,” he said.

“They’re for­mu­lat­ing a pol­icy on power north of the river at the mo­ment and are look­ing at all the op­tions on what sort of power will be the best for us.

“Also we’ve asked to be con­sid­ered for tar­iff equal­i­sa­tion in the in­terim which means we pay ex­actly the same for power as the rest of the state does.”

Mr O’Do­herty said Er­gon En­ergy have been up in the Dain­tree look­ing at dif­fer­ent pos­si­bil­i­ties the past few years and will dis­cuss the best op­tions with the Gov­ern­ment.

“There’s quite a few op­tions avail­able to them to put in the same type of sys­tems they have up in the Cape com­mu­ni­ties with stand-alone sys­tems to fuel ef­fi­cient gen­er­a­tors that feed the power out,” he said.

“There also can be a com­bi­na­tion of stand­alone and re­new­able so that peo­ple with so­lar or hy­dro can feed back into the grid and that would be the best of both worlds.

“It’s been a long time com­ing, the community’s re­ally suf­fered badly un­der this pol­icy and it’s cre­ated a lot of hard­ships for busi­nesses and res­i­dents and it’s not nice run­ning gen­er­a­tors ev­ery­day and pump­ing thou­sands of tonnes of pol­lu­tion into the rain­for­est.

“It would be an all-round win for the en­vi­ron­ment and for us but a lot of peo­ple are scep­ti­cal to think they might ac­tu­ally get a bet­ter form of power than smelly old diesel gen­er­a­tors.”

The change in heart from the State Gov­ern­ment can­not come any sooner for the res­i­dents north of the Dain­tree River, with the Fed­eral Gov­ern­ment re­cently low­er­ing the diesel re­bate from 38c per litre to 32c per litre.

“That’s im­pacted pretty dra­mat­i­cally on res­i­dents up here, six cents doesn’t sound like much but us­ing thou­sands of litres it soon mounts up to a con­sid­er­able amount of money,” Mr O’Do­herty said.

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