Big de­ci­sion

Port Douglas & Mossman Gazette - - FRONT PAGE -

Think and vote! On Novem­ber 9 we the peo­ple of Dou­glas Shire have to make the big­gest de­ci­sion of our time. All the can­di­dates have the good of the Shire at heart. All good peo­ple! In my opin­ion we need to elect can­di­dates that re­flect busi­ness acu­men on an ex­ec­u­tive level. The key to a strong shire is elect­ing can­di­dates who have top-level fi­nan­cial ex­per­tise, com­mon sense and of­fer a bal­ance be­tween run­ning a busi­ness while main­tain­ing a rea­son­able nonex­treme en­vi­ron­men­tal at­ti­tude. While we have a wide choice of can­di­dates there are only a se­lect few that of­fer a strong ex­ec­u­tive back­ground. I urge ev­ery­one to read about the can­di­dates at­tend the com­ing fo­rums and ask ques­tions. This maybe the only chance we get. Think and vote! ap­par­ent sup­port from the Dou­glas or Cairns North­ern Beaches com­mu­ni­ties nor from our elected rep­re­sen­ta­tives. To put 700,000 tonnes of ad­di­tional cane on our roads, through Moss­man town­ship, and through the mill, into per­spec­tive, the mill will crush this sea­son, by Mackay Su­gar’s own es­ti­mate, 575,000 tonnes; most of that sourced from within the Dou­glas "Shire" and most of that trans­ported by train. This ex­tra ton­nage will in­crease the 2014 crush to 1,275,000 tonnes - more than 2.2 times that of 2013, and will, I be­lieve, re­sult in the largest ever crush at Moss­man Mill. The 700,000 tonnes of ad­di­tional cane from the Table­lands, on top of ‘‘hoped for’’ nat­u­ral growth lo­cally, will sim­ply ‘‘crush’’ our road sys­tems, Moss­man’s coun­try-town at­mos­phere, our Coast-to-Table­lands tourism in­dus­try, our road-frontage restau­rant and ac­com­mo­da­tion busi­nesses, our en­vi­ron­ment and en­vi­ron­men­tal im­age, and frankly the mill it­self, and se­verely im­pact both the tourist amenity of the coast road from Cairns to Port Dou­glas as well as that of the Cairns North­ern Beaches - all for lit­tle to no fi­nan­cial ben­e­fit lo­cally but sim­ply for the ben­e­fit of out-of-dis­trict own­er­ship that does not care one jot about the lo­cal liv­ing en­vi­ron­ment. Ad­di­tion­ally, it will ad­versely im­pact our lo­cal farm­ers, who will have to en­dure 24/7 aroundthe-clock har­vest­ing with both in­creased noise and life­style im­pact as well as con­se­quent dam­age to head­lands and ra­toons, com­pro­mised pri­or­ity for pro­cess­ing of their cane, enor­mously in­creased pres­sure on mill re­li­a­bil­ity (a dis­as­ter this year al­ready, with just 440,000 tonnes in to­tal pro­cessed to-date), and, if past his­tory is any guide, re­duced fi­nan­cial re­turns re­sult­ing from mill sub­sidi­s­a­tion of the Table­lands cane trans­port and pro­cess­ing. the 700,000 tonnes of ad­di­tional cane from the Table­lands will mean an ad­di­tional eight 40-tonne B-Ddouble truck move­ments ev­ery hour seven days a week for five months along the Ma­reeba-Moss­man high­way, though Mt Mol­loy and Ju­lat­ten, down the Rex Range, on and off the Cap­tain Cook High­way, and into and out off Moss­man - that is one truck ev­ery eight min­utes, 24/7 on av­er­age, plus hun­dreds of ex­tra mill-mud dis­tri­bu­tion trucks back up, and down, the range or around the Shire, and hun­dreds more pro­cessed-su­gar de­liv­ery trucks to the Cairns wharf and back as well. And with the pos­si­bil­ity of ad­verse weather, poor mill re­li­a­bil­ity, and the in­evitable road block­ages due to ac­ci­dent and in­creased road main­te­nance, the lo­cal har­vest could ex­tend for as long as eight months, from May to De­cem­ber. Surely this plan is ei­ther plain stu­pid­ity or a sad joke be­ing per­pe­trated against the res­i­dents of the Dou­glas and north­ern Ma­reeba "Shires" and of the Cairns North­ern Beaches com­mu­ni­ties! If this plan pro­ceeds, then the im­pact of the ad­di­tional 17,500 round-trip (35,000 one-way) B-Dou­ble cane-de­liv­ery truck move­ments, not to men­tion mill-mud and su­gar de­liv­ery truck move­ments, upon our roads, upon our liv­ing stan­dards and life-style amenity, upon im­pacted busi­nesses, and upon road safety, will lay squarely at Mackay Su­gar’s doorstep, and they should not be al­lowed to pro­ceed with­out legally en­force­able multi-mil­lion dol­lar up-front pro­vi­sion for the in­evitable di­rect and in­di­rect costs that will en­sue.

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