A game of words

Port Douglas & Mossman Gazette - - OPINION -

I SENT ques­tions to the De­part­ment of Nat­u­ral Re­sources and Mines about the de­ci­sion handed down to Dou­glas Shire Coun­cil last week, in which coun­cil’s ap­pli­ca­tion ac­quire land at Yule Point for Paws and Claws was re­jected.

I asked if the de­ci­sion was fi­nal, how did the de­part­ment reach this po­si­tion, what was the ad­vice it had re­ceived about the en­vi­ron­men­tal qual­i­ties of the site, and was the de­part­ment aware this was last likely site for Paws and Claws and the re­jec­tion of the ap­pli­ca­tion had caused con­ster­na­tion in the com­mu­nity.

What I re­ceived back was a mas­terly dose of gov­ern­ment depart­men­tal spin, wor­thy of the pha­lanxes of me­dia li­aison­peo­ple who toil in Bris­bane.

No, the de­ci­sion was not fi­nal, they said. This is disin­gen­u­ous – their “pre­lim­i­nary po­si­tion” is as good as a flat out no, and that’s how it was re­ceived by our coun­cil. It put the onus on coun­cil to change the de­part­ment’s mind on the en­vi­ron­men­tal mat­ters. They said they were bound by some Act or other to make sure en­vi­ron­men­tal mat­ters were taken into con­sid­er­a­tion.

And they said, well, in any case, we are work­ing Dou­glas Shire to turn up other sites that may be out there.

Fat chance of that. The state may hold land that has some po­ten­tial, and which is not on the charts of Dou­glas Shire, but it’s pretty un­likely to pro­vide a suitable site for an an­i­mal shel­ter.

And don’t for­get the de­part­ment had just spent 12 months work­ing with Dou­glas Shire of­fi­cers on the land trans­fer and had even had a val­u­a­tion done. So, all in all, an ex­cel­lent piece of depart­men­tal flum­mery which is not worth print­ing in full.

On ra­dio this week the Mayor said there was “some­thing fishy” about the depart­men­tal de­ci­sion. It is easy to think so, and ru­mours abound.

I asked her to ex­pand on this re­mark, but she was too diplo­matic to add any­thing in­ter­est­ing.

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