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Denial of Electricity Supply
Why is there no electricity supply north of the Daintree river?
Some people think that it is because we are too remote, others
think that it is too hard, or expensive....
We are not too remote, power lines carry power all the way from
Gladstone to the Daintree river, then do a loop around the Daintree
in to Wujal Wujal, the indigenous community 32 km north of Cape
Tribulation, and then continue further north to Cooktown and Hopevale,
so we not too remote.
And in outback Queensland and the Torres Strait every indigenous
community has a power supply and a micro grid around the town. So
remoteness is not the reason.
Too hard? No, the technology is there, and look how Telstra put
phone cables all through the Daintree to every block in the 1980's,
it is not that hard....
Too expensive? The Queensland government spends the amount needed
for the Daintree grid every year on the remote indigenous communities
and their micro grids.
Is it because we live in a national park? No, nobody lives IN the
national park, everybody in the Daintree lives on legally subdivided
privately owned land, next to the national park, just like some
Sydney people live next to national parks within the city, and power
can be supplied through underground cables in road reserves so no
national park will be touched or affected with underground boring.
No, the real reason is that greens convinced the state government
to amend the Electricity Act to cut the Daintree out of Ergon's
distribution area, for the purpose of making life hard for people
and undermining the viability of businesses.
One of the main pushers against a grid was Douglas Shire mayor at
the time Mike Berwick, who lived at that time in a grid connected
house north of the Daintree river, and worked as hard as he could
to stop it from reaching the rest of the community. That was in
the 1990s, but today in 2018 he is still working against a normal
electricity supply for the Daintreee community.
In the 1980's the Queensland government promised electricity supply
in the Daintree, the Cow Bay Hotel was built via a tender process,
the business plan did not stack up without power supply but power
was promised by the state government at the time to arrive within
three years, the pub was built and a cheap generator was bought
and a power pole erected at the road side.
The promised power supply never arrived and thirty years later the
unconnected power pole still stands there as a monument to government
Meanwhile the pub has gone in to receivership several times and
when sold the last time only cost a bit over $300,000.- thanks to
their massive fuel bills averaging $9000.- per month.
Federal MP Warren Entsch and Shadow Energy Minister Michael Hart
at the unconnected power pole for Cow Bay Hotel
During the 1990s several studies were conducted on
how to best provide power supply to the Daintree river and a time
table was given by the electricity company of three different stages,
with the final stage of Cape Tribulation to be connected by 1995.
Then ultra greens managed to hijack the situation
and in 2000 the Queensland government amended the Electricity Act
to exclude the area from the Daintree river to the Bloomfield river
from the state wide electricity grid.
The philosophy behind it was that if we make life hard for people
and businesses commerically unviable then people wlll leave and
we can turn back the clock to have an uninhabitated national park
to have a green playground for the day tours from Cairns and Port
Would you believe it?
A government legislated against a basic service just to make life
hard for its constituents to try and drive them out of their homes,
leading to decades of economic hardship and pollution!
Changed legislation to make life harder for people in the Daintree
Daintree residents in the Forest Creek road area are
so close to power lines some can see them from their house, but
they have to run generators being stubbornly denied connection.
However on the other side of the exclusion zone electricity cables
were illegally brought across the Bloomfield river for indigenous
housing in 2004!
Daintree residents fought hard for their rights in
the beginning, many action groups and committees pursued the issue
and many thousands of dollars were spent on lawyers but all to no
avail, despite Australia being considered a modern Western country
it is perfectly legal for a government to pass legislation that
crashes people's property values and dooms their economy.
Nowadays in 2018 few people still pursue the fight, many people
have dropped out, from disillusion or frustration from decades of
government lies and hypocrisy, because they have moved out of the
area sent broke by fuel and generator costs, or because they died,
many people died of old age waiting for the promised power supply,
and some were driven to suicide.
Another ironic fact that infuriated Daintree residents that their
Mayor who was one of the driving forces behind this electricity
denial, lived north of the Daintree river in one of the few houses
connected to mains power!
Around 1996 there was a brief period where subsidies
were available in the Daintree for solar power, but with the industry
being in its infancy at that time some pretty useless systems were
A couple of years later the situation changed and Daintree residents
were no longer eligible for subsidies, the Queensland government
subsidises solar panels on roof tops all over the state with the
aim of having a million roof tops covered by 2030 but the Daintree
residents do not get a cent towards all the regular replacements
of all their "renewable" energy equipment. People often
go and see the bank to borrow more and instead of paying off a mortgage
like people in the city do, they find that after twenty years they
owe more than before....
On the way to the Daintree ferry looking north.
Note how the clouds hang over North Douglas which has its own micro-climate,
and further to the
right there is blue sky over South Douglas, where the greens are
based who tell us to use solar...
And renewable energy is certainly not free, in the
1990's when FNQEB still did standalone systems they quoted a cost
of $2.97 per kwh which of course was a prohibitive cost whent the
rest of the state paid only about 15 cents.
And even a few years ago ERGON did a study
done that compares being on a grid to being standalone renewable
and it was still SIX times more expensive. And that would be in
a normal place, in the Daintree with an average 4.2 metres of rain
fall per year it is probably more like TWELVE times more expensive.
There are considerable set up costs, and replacement
costs, the various components only last for so many years and many
Daintree residents dig themselves in to ever deeper mortgage holes
refinancing every few years to renew or upgrade their renewable
For larger businesses it is not an option, you could spend up to
a million dollars on a solar set up and still have to run a generator
during the wet season, and banks won't lend for this.
ERGON is not the only one that figured out that standalone power
a multiple of the cost of normal grid power.
The first turn left when you drive off Australia's most expensive
ferry is Forest Creek Road and down there you will find 13 properties
connected to the main electricity grid, one of them the barramundi
farm where Mike Berwick lived while he stopped power going further
to anyone else.
If our hypocritical state government was genuinely interested in
helping people then all they would have to do is lift the discriminatory
exclusion from Ergon's distribution area for the Daintree and spare
capacity on existing power lines can be used to extend power to
neighbours to those 13 houses who currently have to run generators,
and people can be helped and pollution saved at no cost to the Queensland
government, properties are so close there they could pay all connection
Power lines in the Daintree
But the government does have money, they frequently boast about
the multi million dollar solar farms they are building, they spend
around $50 million per year on subsidies and upgrades to remote
indigenous community power stations, and state owned electricity
provider Energy Queensland has an after tax profit of $942 million
This example shows that the whole electricity denial is NOT ABOUT
MONEY but it is one of the tactics to make life hard for Daintree
residents and attempt to drive them off their land, and to keep
land cheap for the never ending buyback.
As soon as there is talk of an electricity supply the greens are
worried they won't be able to buy land for peanuts any more.
The government knows how important electricity is, you can read it on
their own websites.
Affordable and reliable electricity is recognized by many high profile
international organisations as crucial to economic activity and wellbeing.
In countries like Libya and Syria when they want to take over a city
the first thing they do is turn off the electricity and water.
So as shown above the lack of electricity supply in the Daintree
is not about money.
There is only one reason why there is no electricity supply in the Daintree
and that is ultra greens keeping pressure on the Queensland government
to deny us power, and ironically these greens are now responsible
for 10,000 tonnes of CO2 per year blowing from hundreds of generators
in to the rain forest that they love so much.
Greenies polluting the planet, and it is not only the CO2 that ends
up in the rain forest and draining in to the Great Barrier Reef
waters, there is the sumpoil from all the oil changes in generators,
discarded lead acid batteries, worn out generators and solar panels
and other equipment. You would expect this in Africa but not in
This video gives a quick introduction to the various aspects of
the electricity denial
In April 2017 Federal Energy and Environment Minister
Josh Frydenberg joined Warren Entsch for a trip to the Daintree,
met with locals, saw the diesel generators running and smoking,
and decided this was not acceptable in the 21st century.
He instructed ARENA (Australian Renewable Energy Agency) to do something
about this, a study was commissioned and the report delivered early
Not much later even the Queensland State Government committed to
working together with ARENA and while normally government and opposition
disagree on everything, the opposition was in support of this commitment,
as Shadow Energy Minister Michael Hart has been to the Daintree
several times about this issue.
So everyone agreed that it was a great idea to change
from hundreds of diesel generators to a cleaner greener grid, and
then the ultragreens got involved again.....
Mike Berwick and Hugh Spencer, who hung around in
the Daintree after the other hippies went home when they had been
defeated at the Bloomfield Track Blockade, started protesting against
the grid, together with all their mates from the Douglas Shire Sustainability
Group, which includes a couple of Douglas Shire councillors.
Now it is going to be a long story, too long for this
page, please click here to go to the next
page to read about how greens want to keep the Daintree generators