Fury over axed group
MT Molloy and Julatten residents are up in arms over Mackay Sugar’s decision to ‘‘discontinue’’ the Community Working Group, amid claims of aggressive behaviour.
On Monday Mackay Sugar announced its decision to axe the group, which was formed to address community concerns over the scheduled transportation of 700,000 tonnes of Tablelands cane through the small towns to Mossman next year.
After only the second meeting the chairman David Donohue (Queensland Corporate Communications Network managing director) resigned after, what he described as people in the group maintaining an ‘‘ entrenched and aggressive stance’’.
One such CWG member from Julatten, Dennis Rose, said he and other members felt the aggressive stance came from Mackay Sugar and the former chairman. ‘‘ We totally refute everything Lorelei van Dalen (Mackay Sugar) and Mackay Sugar have said, she and David Donohue had no intention of ever resolving anything with the community and derailed the process from day one,’’ he said.
‘‘David Donohue’s performance as a chairperson was absolutely pathetic. I’ve been involved in many other community groups over the years and usually if the chairman is biased he at least tries to disguise the fact.
‘‘He personally attacked me then when that didn’t work he started having go at another. He tried the classic divide and conquer and when it became obvious we were sticking together he spat the dummy, took the bat and ball and went home - then Mackay Sugar put out a media release about how we were aggressive and entrenched. We are all disappointed.’’
Mr Rose said former committee members are not surprised the CWG was disbanded, but they will continue to hold meetings with their own committee, with support from Tableland Regional Councillor Gaye Taylor.
‘‘She has been very supportive of us. It doesn’t take a lot of evidence to see the inadequacy of the road and the unacceptable impact from the amount of traffic we are going to have,’’ Mr Rose said.
‘‘We are under no illusions it will be an easy battle but we will do anything we legally can do to stop the trucks.’’
Mackay Sugar communications manager Lorelei van Dalen said that while the CWG has been disbanded, the community consultation process with Mt Molloy and Julatten residents would continue. ‘‘We remain committed to working with the Mt Molloy and Julatten communities and developing a transportation strategy that takes into account the various concerns of Mt Molloy and Julatten residents,’’ she said. ‘‘In lieu of the CWG, we will conduct a short series of workshops in November, involving community representatives and the Department of Transport and Main Roads, the police and Tablelands Council.’’
Mackay Sugar axed the Community Working Group