Allegations have been made in several websites and media platforms that DouglasNews.Network was formed because the management does not accept the outcome of the recent Council election.
This is absolutely untrue.
Never once has this news and opinion platform ever stated that we do not accept the outcome of the election.
We believe strongly in democracy, and that a strong and independent media is essential so that voters are fully informed at the next election.
Progressive media is fundamental to progressive government.
DouglasNews.Network reports the truth and stands by the content and veracity of the news, articles and opinion pieces it publishes.
One of the many roles of good media is to ensure that our elected officials keep their election promises and claims. This is essential to a free functioning democracy.
Election promises are the contract with the people. Not keeping election promises and claims means that the elected representatives have lied to the voters and have been elected by deceit. The voters have the right to be informed if their elected representatives have been and continue to be honest with them.
We have called out the elected representatives who made election promises and claims on the following points:
- Rates were too high
- They would be better economic managers
- More consultation
- Open and transparent Council
1. Rates were too high
Councillors Kerr, Scomazzon and McKeown campaigned about rates being too high yet they voted against the motions by Councillors Zammataro and Noli to freeze fees, charges and rates in these difficult economic times.
They increased them instead. Kerr even tried but failed to give a 20% rate reduction to a billionaire. Cairns Regional Council froze rates to give relief to their struggling businesses, residents and ratepayers, but not Douglas.
2. They would be better economic managers
The previous Council paid off the $5.4 million de-amalgamation debt, delivered the lowest rates increase in the living memory of the Shire and produced a small surplus. In six months, the Council under the management of the current Mayor has gone from being debt free with a surplus to running a budget deficit, while increasing the rates.
3. More consultation
The previous 30 years of Council consulted on all the major issues and the last Council was the most consultative Council in the history of the Douglas Shire. Apart from replicating the widespread consultation conducted by the previous Council on the ferry, there has been zero consultation on all the other issues such as rates, fees, charges, the Bally Hooley, the swimming pool, the Mossman Golf Club, defunding Tourism Port Douglas Daintree, the bollards on Cowrie St and implementing more high-paying staff positions.
The duplication of the ferry consultation can be seen as a deliberate push for a bridge rather than a genuinely needed consultation. It is a massive waste of ratepayers funds in the toughest economic times in over 90 years as well as delaying the lowest cost outcome, threatening a World Heritage area, and the economy that depends on it.
4. Open and transparent Council
This is the least transparent Council compared to previous Councils. More mayoral minutes have been used in the first months than previous Councils in a similar time period. These mayoral minutes were used to override the democratic rights of Councillors Noli and Zammataro as our elected representative to debate issues. The Council has been refusing the Right To Information requests made by businesses, residents and ratepayers, thereby hiding the information about management decisions. This is the exact opposite of an open and transparent government.
The Daintree River Crossing Options Report is an example being opaque, rather than transparent. We have given examples of how it leaves out and obscures crucial information as well as making inaccurate statements. This is not just our opinion, as we have had experts inform us that the Report makes it difficult for people to be accurately informed about making decisions on the options.
Democracy depends on the freedom of the media which cannot be compromised without being lost.