A B-Double problem
Regarding Mr Hildebrand’s letter (Letters, November 1) it is thoughtful of him to mention he will ‘‘not’’ be hauling cane by B-Double transport through Mossman. He simply does not have Main Roads approval to do so. Has he considered the banking up effect on traffic at the South Mossman and Mt Molloy/ Captain Cook Highway intersection rail crossings and at the one-way bridge at Rifle Creek, Mt Molloy? Has he considered what effect an extra 42,000 truck movements per season will have on daily commuters to Mareeba and Mossman and children on school buses? I think he should be well aware of the fact that the Mossman-Mt Molloy road is likely ‘‘not’’ to meet the necessary Dept of Main Roads and Transport criteria for B-Doubles once an indepependent B-Double route assessment is carried out. the new council as a dumping ground for staff...’’ You assert that ‘‘they (CRC) are working within that range’’. I respectfully challenge you on this matter. I have read and heard many media reports, including in the Cairns Post and radio interviews, where it is clear that: A) DSC cannot physically accommodate 31 extra staff; B) DSC does not require the 31 extra staff as there only 14 positions available; C) DSC cannot afford to pay the extra staff or provide work for them; D) DSC will be financially responsible for any redundancies accepted by these extra staff; E) DSC may have to pay a travel allowance to these staff to accommodate the impact of travel costs on them from the Cairns area and surrounds; F) The majority of these staff are unhappy about their forced relocation to work in the Douglas Shire when they, in good faith, previously accepted employment specifically in the Cairns locale. Based on the above points, your assertion that CRC are working in a balanced manner is incorrect as the ‘‘balance’’ is clearly tipped in CRC’s favour and DSC is in fact being ‘‘used as a dumping ground for staff’’. With respect, as Minister for Local Government, you represent us in the Douglas Shire, as well as those in the CRC electorate. I see from your profile that you originate from Ingham, a relatively small regional area. I would have hoped that this alone would have assisted you in perspective and I respectfully remind you that a massive number of votes received by the LNP at the last election was, in this area, primarily based on your party’s promise of deamalgamation. I acknowledge that your party has delivered on that promise and thank you for that. I, and many people of DSC, feel angry, frustrated and ethically cheated in relation to decision making regarding staff to date. I am aware that the newly formed council on the Tablelands is being similarly affected by your regulations. Apparently you are the only one who can do anything to reverse things. I have lived in Port Douglas for 33 years and intend to remain here for the rest of my life. I care deeply and passionately about our Shire and I ask that you understand this issue not only as a politician, but also as a representative who was voted in somewhat on our backs. Many people up here voted LNP for the first time ever, purely because they felt so strongly about de-amalgamation. As you are hopefully aware, the old DSC was in very good financial state. We therefore should be mindful that we give the new DSC the opportunity to work. Perhaps it is timely to remind you that when we were amalgamated many local staff lost their jobs up here. During amalgamation council jobs up in Douglas were primarily done by people from Cairns. It was sadly laughable to watch the truck with three men (two of whom did pretty much nothing but have the free ride) come to pick up the few palm fronds etc on a daily basis. No wonder CRC has excess staff to dump on to us. You would be prudent to understand that during amalgamation job losses and financial hardships were immediately felt in Douglas. On a personal note, my rates doubled from just over $3000 a year under the old DSC to well over $6000 a year. There was no increase in services, from my perspective. Water rates were also introduced (which I do not have a problem with) but the truth of the matter is we have already been ripped off under the amalgamated CRC management and now you are effectively allowing it to continue because you appear unable to respect the fact that we in Douglas passionately want our new DSC to work economically, politically and ethically. We have only just voted and are already going unheard in a situation where there is a clear lack of ethical, unbiased and professionally appropriate decision making occurring. Mr Tabulo, who is privy to all decision making regarding the new council structuring, simply tosses the ball to you using ‘‘the regulations’’ as his excuse when asked about this matter. Therefore I must ask, what are you going to do about it, Minister?