FAIR GO FOR ALL QUEENSLANDERS,
NO MATTER WHERE THEY LIVE
This is what the Queensland Premier just told us in her media release
of April 17, 2016
the full media release here but the most interesting part fo the Daintree
community is this:
Queenslanders, no matter where they live deserve a
fair go and their fair share.
That's exactly what my Government is delivering.
The Daintree community is the only only one in Australia where State
Govt legislated against grid power.
The Daintree region has no other choice than to run generators to keep
their businesses operating and the costs are crippling their economy,
while the State Govt spends $700 million on subsidizing electricity tariffs
in other parts of Queensland, because they know how important affordable
electricity is to businesses, the Energy Minister states on his website:
"As Minister for Energy and Water Supply, Mark is focused on delivering
safe, efficient and affordable electricity and water supplies to Queensland
households and businesses."
And on his department's website it says:
Screenshot from government website
But when the Daintree community with the highest electricity generating
costs in Australia writes to their Premier and Energy Minister for help
and a solution to this mess of energy poverty and pollution they get meaningless
replies from staffers telling them that it is a complicated issue and
if they want a grid they they can organise and pay for it themselves,
which is something that no other community in Australia has had to do.
“Queenslanders, no matter where they live deserve a
fair go and their fair share. That's exactly what my Government is delivering.”
If all Queenslanders no matter where they live deserve a fair go
then it appears the Daintree is no longer a part of Queensland, because
the Daintree residents are NOT getting a fair go and NOT getting a fair
share and you are NOT delivering anything to the Daintree.
Why do we think that we are NOT getting a Fair Go in the Daintree?
1. Because we are the only community in the civilized world who had
their government legislate against the basic service of electricity,
which is universally acknowledged as essential for economic activity
and productivity and well being of population. This has resulted in
a crisis of pollution and energy poverty with currently no light at
the end of the tunnel. Instead of pro-actively seeking a solution to
end this shameful pollution and energy poverty you knock back every
proposal attempting to find a solution. NO FAIR GO FOR DAINTREE RESIDENTS
2. Because the energy minister states on his website: "As Minister
for Energy and Water Supply, Mark is focused on delivering safe, efficient
and affordable electricity and water supplies to Queensland households
and businesses." and he knows that in the Daintree there is no safe,
efficient and affordable electricity supply, he knows that hundreds
of diesel generators are polluting the place and keeping the community
poor and he is not doing anything to help the Daintree, despite our
pleas. NO FAIR GO FOR DAINTREE RESIDENTS !!
3. Because on the Department Of Energy and Water website it states:
Every Queenslander - including each one of us – needs a
safe reliable and affordable electricity and water supply. Just like
every Queenslander, every Daintree resident also needs safe, reliable
and affordable electricity, and DEWS is well aware that all we have
in the Daintree is dangerous, unreliable, polluting and expensive generators
and still every call for help and every proposal from the Daintree falls
on deaf ears and we get meaningless replies telling us to go and build
our own grid. NO FAIR GO FOR DAINTREE RESIDENTS !!
4. Because elsewhere in Queensland 34 remote indigenous communities
enjoy subsidized grid power from standalone mini-grids for which they
never had to do anything, why is the Daintree community discriminated
and not getting the same service and treatment as the indigenous communities?
NO FAIR GO FOR DAINTREE RESIDENTS !!
5. Because elsewhere in regional Queensland electricity tariffs are
subsidized to the tune of $700 million per year to give businesses a
level playing field and pay the same $0.30 or so per kWh as in the city,
while the Daintree gets no subsidy and pays up to three dollars per
kWh for their random mix of diesel power and inefficient solar in rainforest
climate. NO FAIR GO FOR DAINTREE RESIDENTS !!
6. Because years ago solar subsidies were axed for the Daintree and
only given to people already on the grid, the taxes Daintree residents
paid went towards filling half a million roof tops around Queensland
with subsidized solar panels while Daintree residents pay full price
for their own! NO FAIR GO!
7. Because we are without government representation, the MP Billy
Gordon that your government installed and then sacked does nothing for
us, has only been to the Daintree once, we briefed him on the energy
crisis and we never heard from him again. NO FAIR GO FOR DAINTREE RESIDENTS
8. Because ARENA, the Australian Renewable Energy Agency, has $2.5
billion in funding available, and the Daintree community who needs it
more than anyone else, is not getting a cent of this. NO FAIR GO FOR
DAINTREE RESIDENTS !!
9. Because when Labor Government took over from the LNP they announced
to honour all commitments made by the previous government, and they
honoured all except for one; the commitment Campbell Newman made to
pay from his discretionary fund for a detailed costing of the electricity
infrastructure needed in the Daintree, and then to build it and share
the costs 50/50 with the Federal Government. NO FAIR GO FOR DAINTREE
10. Because there are houses on the southern edge of the Daintree
running generators next door to grid-connected houses, and thanks to
the stubborn maintaining of Ergon’s exclusion area these houses
can not be connected, even though the laws were broken to connect indigenous
housing in the exclusion area on the northern edge. NO FAIR GO FOR DAINTREE
11. Because the Daintree as a tourism destination generates hundreds
of millions of dollars in revenue per annum in the north Queensland
region and for the rest of Australia, but there is never any money put
back in to this struggling community. We live in a Third World country
with no power, no water, no sewerage, no mobile phone network, no NBN,
no garbage removal, few sealed roads and had to fight and campaign for
public toilets, a kids playground and to preserve a boardwalk. NO FAIR
GO FOR DAINTREE RESIDENTS !!
12. Because we see how the Queensland Government will be investing
almost $4.8 billion in infrastructure across regional Queensland this
financial year, but there is not one cent for the Daintree in there.
NO FAIR GO FOR DAINTREE RESIDENTS !!
13. Because in the Daintree we get told by our government that if
we want an electricity supply then we will have to organise it ourselves
and pay for it, this has not happened anywhere else, a project like
this is way beyond the ability of a community. It is like all of us
going to medical school and building our own hospital. A ridiculous
proposal. NO FAIR GO FOR DAINTREE RESIDENTS !!
14. Because the stubborn denial of basic electricity infrastructure
keeps property values down, which is convenient for greens buying back
land for conservation, but it traps residents who want or need to move,
selling their Daintree property will not buy them a comparable place
elsewhere, and their buyers have trouble financing as most banks have
the Daintree on their blacklist. NO FAIR GO FOR DAINTREE RESIDENTS !!
19 Camelot Close
Cape Tribulation 4873
The local newspaper the Mossman Gazette published this open letter, and
I knew that there were going to be comments flowing in, so five days before
the newspaper was even going to hit the shops I already sent my reply
to their comments, because I knew what they were going to say;
1. It was your choice to go and live there...
Yes, that is right, and when I moved in to Cape
Trib in 1993 it was an area just getting settled and resorts were being
built, phone lines were already in the ground all throughout the Daintree,
the road was getting better by the week, and at that time power supply
was talked of as a matter of WHEN, not IF.
The whole Daintree was within the legal distribution area of the electricity
provider at the time, and there was no way of knowing that seven years
later we were going to be cut out of this distribution area without compensation.
How could I possible have known I had just bought a property in the only
place in the western world where a government would legislate against
basic services essential to its own citizens? Everywhere else governments
want to see prosperous happy communities.
2. If you don’t like it why don’t you
Not many people are willing to buy a property
without electricity supply, or even if they are then they will not pay
a realistic price, as they have trouble obtaining finance because most
banks have the Daintree on their black list. This means Daintree residents
who want or need to move can not sell their places for a price that will
buy a comparable place somewhere else in Australia. They can not afford
to move and are trapped. Moving out without selling your house is also
not an option as renting out means tenants trashing your batteries or
stealing your generator as often happens.
3. A grid will bring over-development to a pristine
WRONG! A three point plan was agreed on between
government and stake holders in 2009.
Point 1: Buyback of unoccupied and other selected blocks of land.
Point 2: An amended restrictive town plan to take away the threat of over-development
on the remaining blocks not bought back.
Point 3: Grid power to be provided.
Points 1 and 2 happened but nearly two decades later
we are still waiting for point 3 and at three million litres of fuel per
year that gets trucked across the river (as established in survey) another
30 000 tonnes of CO2 has been pumped in to our World Heritage listed rain
forest since then, and countless businesses and households have gone broke
and closed or left the area.
4. You bought cheap land because
there was never going to be any grid power, it was never promised.
WRONG! FNQEB was ready to put electricity in, it
was only a matter of WHEN, and not IF, for many years. Various politicians
over the years committed to the provision of mains power.
Jeff Seeney has made promises in the past of Coalition commitment to providing
power to the Daintree, I have his fax here for anyone who want to see
it. FNQEB has done several studies in the 1990's
in to the best way to build the power supply, and if ultra-greens had
not stopped them it would have happened a long time ago, now we have the
ironic situation where greens are responsible for ongoing pollution.
5. People that want power only want to make profits
on real estate.
WRONG! Nobody in the Daintree is going to walk away
with fat profits. Over the last two decades real estate has surged everywhere
in Australia but in the Daintree it has stagnated, this means that people
in the Daintree who go broke paying for fuel and generators can not move
away and sell their place and get a comparable place elsewhere in the
country. A grid would change the value of Daintree real estate somewhat
but it is never going to catch up with the rest of the country. It would
only mean that maybe then residents can afford to move and not give away
their land for peanuts and start with a new mortgage elsewhere in Australia
where all real estate has tripled in value over the last two decades.
6. You Daintree people should use renewable energy.
If this was a viable option we would be doing it!
All renewable energy options have been thoroughly examined in the Daintree.
Solar panels need sun, and as rainforests tend to have many trees that
provide shade, and even more so have a lot of rain and cloud, solar panels
do not work very often, even the newest technology! While small households
with enough investment may be able to run on this (together with backup
generator), it is not an option for businesses with larger power demands
for refrigeration etc.
Hydro electricity to supply a whole community would require damming of
creeks which means too high environmental impact, and wind turbines have
just been banned near World Heritage areas by our government. Other technologies
are still too expensive and experimental.
Renewable energy in the Daintree now means renewing generators, battery
banks and other equipment.
7. You can not expect the Govt to pay a grid from
Why not? All other infrastructure in Australia
was built with public money. Nowhere else in Australia have residents
had to get together to discuss and finance their own basic infrastructure.
Only a tiny percentage of Ergon's annual $404 million profit is needed.
ARENA has $2.5 billion in funding available for renewable energy projects,
hundreds of millions have been spent on solar farms near Cooktown and
Weipa, and 34 remote indigenous communities have power grids built and
maintained from public money.
What we need now is our government to be pro-active
in sorting out this situation, instead of ignoring us and knocking back
any proposal we make.
1. It goes against all common sense and environmental
commitments Australia makes at international conferences to have hundreds
of generators roaring side by side.
2. The Queensland Government has created this mess by a.) approving the
subdivision of the Daintree and b.) banning grid power and excluding the
area from the distribution area of the state’s electricity supplier.
They created this mess in these two steps and that makes it their responsibility
to clear up this mess.