Daintree’s top wish? A state visit, please
MARK Bailey’s suspension from state Cabinet has been a blow to the Daintree Rainforest Power Committee, which had elicited from the state minister a promise to come up to Daintree to hear the plight of locals over the power issue.
“We had been in touch with him a while ago and he gave us an undertaking to come up here.
“I was going to put him in touch with local business people so he could hear first hand the difficulties of running a business up here when you’re off the power grid,” said Daintree Rainforest Power Committee chairman Russell O’Doherty.
Now, the committee is chasing Treasurer Curtis Pitt to make the journey. It wouldn’t be before time. “We haven’t had a state minister come up here for decades,” Mr O’Doherty told the
“You’d have to go back to the Goss government when he excised us from the grid.”
Usefully, the area did have a prominent visitor recently when federal Environment and Energy Minister Josh Frydenberg dropped in, along with federal MP Warren Entsch and various agency members.
“He agreed that the amount of diesel we burn each year – more than 3 million litres – was completely unacceptable,” Mr O’Doherty said.
The committee says all the main players except the state government are lined up to support an offer by the NIS Energy to bring electricity gen- eration to the Daintree.
Mr O’Doherty said NIS Energy, which has the rights to the Jewel Box system, had put a full blown proposal to the committee in which the company would fund either a 3mW power plant, or three micro-systems – one each at Forest Creek, Cape Tribulation and Cow Bay – at no cost to the government.
They are locked in to sell the power to the community at 23 cents per kilowatt for 20 years.
“It produces no pollution whatsoever, it’s a piece of engineering,” Mr O’Doherty said.
He said the government’s Arena body, which focuses on renewable energy, and others like the Wet Tropics Management Authority were aligned with the project.
The committee believes the federal support under World Heritage provisions is for the underground cabling component.
“The blockage is the state government. All we need is their approval for this to proceed.”
Federal MP Josh Frydenberg, Russell O'Doherty and Warren Entsch MP at a recent meeting in the Daintree.