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pollution and energy poverty in the daintree

Conspiracy theories

Many Daintree residents are convinced that the discriminatory exclusion of electricity from their area is part of a conspiracy to drive them off their land.

The privately owned land in the Daintree was subdivided in a time when the environmental value of this rainforest was not all that well and widely understood.

The Douglas Shire Council at the time didn't think the proposed subdivision was a good idea and refused approval, so the developer went to Brisbane with a few bags of cash and corrupt State Government approved it.

When it was concluded in later years that in hindsight it had not been a real good idea it was too late to turn back the clock. The greedy developers and the corrupt politicians that had made it happen had made their money and were gone with the wind.

The government had allowed the subdivisions to happen without the essential services being installed!

They now faced a situation where there was pressure from green groups to preserve the area.

The decent (but expensive) way to turn the clock back would have been to buy back all the land.
Owners of all vacant land could have been refunded, and people already settled could have been paid a fair price to re-settle in a comparable place elsewhere in Australia.

After all, people here were not illegal squatters, they had legitimately bought legally subdivided land.

But as happens in most corrupt developing nations around the world, the rich never get touched and the poor have to suffer and pay the price.

Instead of going after the big people that had cut this rainforest in to small pieces it was considered to be easier to let the small people pay the price, if they were punished with enough economic hardship then they would pack up and go, so thought the green elements with influence in government, and so they embarked on a mission to drive people out through economic sabotage of the local community.

When FNQEB was ready to put electricity in the various green forces managed to block this. One of the main driving forces against power Mayor Mike Berwick lived north of the river on grid power but it was not allowed to go any further.
But in those days fuel was cheap, and people kept moving in and running generators, so the electricity denial was a failed policy only leading to pollution.
More economic sanctions were needed.

The "three-point-plan" in 1999 was considered the solution.

1. A building moratorium was slapped on the area without warning and a restrictive town plan was introduced which stagnated property values, compensation was only paid to a few.
2. Buy back of rainforest properties to reduce the number of future dwellings.
3. Grid electricity to be provided.

The community was led to believe that when these points were achieved then risk of over-development was eliminated and then the people would be looked after with services such as electricity.
This was a con, after the first two points were achieved, nothing happened.

THE DAINTREE CONSPIRACY

What makes people believe there is a conspiracy to drive them off their land?
Some short points, longer explanations further down this page.

1. Nowhere else in the civilized world has a government legislated against basic services that are essential to economy and wellbeing.

2. People were kicked off their freehold land, development rights stripped away, and others encouraged to leave, I received a letter offering me $54000 if I would sell to council and leave.

3. Solar subsidies were cut off for the Daintree while the rest of Queensland was filled with subsidized rooftop solar.

4. In the Cape York Plan (below) the Daintree was left out so no funding available for infrastructure.

5. In the Northern Australia Policy there is $5 billion available for northern Australia but not a cent for the Daintree. The Daintree only gets mentioned to divert traffic away to other tourist attractions.

6. State Govt spent $12 million on building Mamu boardwalk near Innisfail which lost many more millions in its years of unsuccessful operation until it was sold, with the intent to divert traffic away from the Daintree, which hurts the local economy dependent on tourists.

7. The Daintree ferry was used as a traffic limiter, a word often used in DSC, to reduce traffic, and subsequently reduce tourist income and it still goes up in price every year despite milliions in profits in the bank.

8. While there is never any money for the Daintree $20 million was spent on Mossman Gorge, and $11 million is allocated to build a mini-Daintree botanical gardens in Mossman, when that is established in ten years time the ferry will cost $35 with annual price rises and more tourists will only go as far as Mossman.

9. There are houses on Forest Creek road next to houses on the grid who can not get connection, this proves it is not about the government being short of money, it is about them being in the Daintree so they have to be discriminated.

10. The economic boycott serves to keep land prices low so the greens can keep buying back land, as proven by CAFNEC's post below, which is unfair on the population who now can not move elsewhere in Australia.

11. The government and energy minister have plenty of statements on their websites that they understand how important affordable electricity is to economic activity and wellbeing of population, and that is why they try to keep electricity costs in the Daintree as high as possible to limit economic activity. No grid, no subsidy for solar like the rest of the state, and now they have also banned wind turbines from near World Heritage areas.
What sort of government bans wind power but maintains diesel generators in World Heritage area?

12. Queensland Government spends $560 million a year subsidizing regional electricity customers so they pay the same as the city, because they understand how important electricity price is to business and economy. What do they do for the Daintree? NOTHING.

State government tried to steer tourist traffic away from the Daintree to the south side of Cairns with various policies and the financing of Mamu boardwalk near Innisfail, they spend millions on it, and it failed anyway.

The Douglas Shire Council maintained a "traffic limiter", the slow and expensive Daintree ferry.
They put the price of the ferry up a dollar every year, even though they have around $4000,000.- in profits in the bank. By 2015 the cost for the short crossing had risen to $25.- , the most expensive ferry in Australia. There are over 20 cable ferries in Australia, about three of them charge a fraction of the Daintree fee, and all others are free.
Meanwhile the government has started funding the Mossman Botanical Gardens, some gardening fanatics from Mossman want to turn a cane farm in to a mini Daintree replica to stop tourists from driving through Mossman and hold them there, they have their first million but another ten are needed to complete the project.
So what will this mean in another ten years from now? If the ferry keeps going up every year by a dollar as it has for a long time then by 2025 the ferry will cost $35.- for the short trip and Mossman will have a mini Daintree where all the highlights of the Daintree are found within a convenient distance from the main accommodation centres of Port Douglas and Cairns, so how will that affect the struggling Daintree community?

As a result of this conspiracy the Daintree community has been financially struggling for decades, but the green powers in the government have not succceeded in driving people off their land. Some stay and struggle on, some leave and bargain hunters buy their properties.

Many Daintree residents are convinced that the conspiracy has more unpleasant surprises in store for the Daintree community as the conspiracists have still not achieved their goal of driving all people out of the Daintree, and this was one of the reasons the Daintree voted an overwhelming 76% NO against de-amalgamating from Cairns back to a recycled Douglas Shire Council under which they have suffered so much in the past. They don't trust the green hidden agenda that is coming back to haunt them once again.

Just look at the situation, why is electricity being denied?

- The government is aware how important it is to economic activity and people's wellbeing. The Energy Minister is often making statements like this, and has been to the Daintree where face to face he saw people close to tears.

- It is very easy to put remote power stations in and connect houses with a small isolated grid, it is done in 34 (mostly indigenous) communities in Queensland.

- It is very easy to extend exisiting power lines on Forest Creek Road, the power has already come 1000 km. from Gladstone, and runs behind the mountains all the way to Cooktown and Hopevale, so why can't it come along this road to people who now have to run a generator? One person lives only 30 metres from the power lines but is not allowed to connect thanks to the discriminatory exclusion of the Daintree from Ergon's distribution area.

- There is money available, and Energy Queensland's annual after tax profit is well over $942 million, and federal funding is available too.

- The government is aware of the unnecessary pollution that is occurring.

- Electricity denial is no longer a needed tool to halt development, buyback and restrictive townplan have taken away this threat.

So there is money to build it, there is technical capability to build it, there is an environmental need to reduce the pollution, there is an economical need to have affordable electricity to conduct business and survive.

Many Daintree people believe that the only reasons why the government stops electricity supply by maintaining the discriminatory exclusion of the Daintree from Ergon's distribution area is that is a hidden agenda to drive people out through starvation, and to keep landvalues low so rainforest rescue organisations can buy up land for peanuts.
Nothing wrong with buying land to protect this special area, but a conspiracy to deprive an entire community from a normal life and economic wellbeing by suppressing property values is a violation of rights and does not belong in a modern democratic country.

DON'T BELIEVE THERE IS A CONSPIRACY?

Consider this;

In the Northern Australia Policy revealed in 2015 there is $7 billion available for northern Australia.
But in the Daintree there is no money for electricity infrastructure, or ADSL internet, or decent public toilets at the ferry crossing or Thornton Beach, or to fix the whole Dubuji boardwalk, but there is money to build a $11 million Botanical Gardens in Mossman!

The Daintree ferry is already the most expensive in Australia, and to reduce traffic the local council puts up the price every year, despite over three million in profits in the bank projected to pass four million.

So in ten years time when this mini-Daintree in Mossman is established, and the ferry rising at $1 a year will cost $35 to cross, how many daytripping tourists will bother to go to the Daintree?

We thought the Cape York Regional Plan might have some funding for the Daintree, but no, funding only for areas outside the Daintree.
In the normal legal definition of Cape York the Daintree is included, but in this plan the boundaries are redrawn to exclude the Daintree.

daintree conspiracy

One reason the Daintree is being denied a grid is to sabotage the local economy and keep land prices low. When in 2012 the government rescinded the Daintree Energy Policy which prohibited any grids so now people could use more efficient electricity by sharing a generator you would have thought that was good news for the environment but all that CAFNEC had to say was oh no, now land prices will go up and buyback will be harder. So there is a conspiracy to keep land prices down, and the Daintree community pays the price. There are some in the city that say; if you are not happy with the power situation there why don't you leave? Well, because for the price you can get for a Daintree property you will not be able to buy a comparable one elsewhere in Australia, so you are stuck!

cafnec comments

 

Another unfair burden on the Daintree community is that even if micro grids are proposed, then the power source should be renewable energy. This is a problem throughout the third world, they are expected to pay the price for more environmentally friendly energy, while the rich countries that make the rules run mostly on fossil fuel.

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