SAVE THE DAINTREE AGAIN / DSSG Responds to Daintree River Crossing Survey Results


Douglas Shire Sustainability Group (DSSG) welcomes the results of a survey conducted by Douglas Shire Council into the appetite for a bridge crossing the Daintree River.The survey results confirm the views of DSSG members that a bridge is neither required nor desired and that this community prefers conservation over development. Two thirds of those surveyed said they preferred a two ferry system.

Council, together with the state and federal governments, needs now to invest in the conservationand presentation of the Daintree Coast, not its development and consequent degradation ofenvironmental values.

Council must revisit some of its recent decisions such as abandoning the project to develop a 30 year plan for Daintree management and removing the Daintree Landholders Kit from its website.

The survey shows that residents across the River hold the same views as the rest of us – this is no place for a bridge. Attempts to divide the people who love and live in Douglas Shire have failed.

DSSG campaigned in support of the two ferry option, believing that once people have all the relevant information they will make an informed decision.

“Our position has been supported by Douglas Shire residents, including those who live across the Daintree River….We all recognise the Daintree Coast is the jewel in the crown of the Wet Tropics World Heritage Area.”

Didge McDonald,President, Douglas Shire Sustainability Group

“A bridge over the Daintree River will be the beginning of ‘death by a thousand cuts’ for the Daintree rainforest, and a catalyst for UNESCO to place the entire Wet Tropics of Queensland on the in-Danger List.”

Dr Steve Turton DFIAG, Adjunct Professor of Environmental Geography, Central Queensland University and University of the Sunshine Coast

Mr McDonald said members are angry that Douglas Shire Council has wasted time and money on this survey.

“The previous Council had examined the issues extensively and made good decisions –we are still not clear why this was the new Council’s first action – what interests were at play.”

Didge McDonald,President, Douglas Shire Sustainability Group

Council needs to engage in clear conversation with the Federal Government about a Conservation Management Plan for the Daintree area that includes social, cultural and economic factors and can guide government investment on both conservation and infrastructure development.

The next emerging threat driven by the federal government and supported by Council – providing subsidised grid power to all properties – should be abandoned. Instead they should assist households and business to upgrade their existing, solar based, stand alone, electricity systems because it is far cheaper, has a lower environmental and cultural impact and DSSG believes, like the ferry, is more widely supported by potential users.

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