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Cassowary Coast Regional Council Mayor Mark Nolan said Council’s door remains open and Council will continue to work with various stakeholders in an effort to find a long-term solution for sewerage within the Port Hinchinbrook development.
On Thursday 13 May, at Councils Ordinary Meeting, Councillors voted on a number of motions in relation to Port Hinchinbrook. A resolution was made to request the State Government maintain availability of funding on offer for Port Hinchinbrook to allow sufficient time for further funding to be secured. “This includes continuing ongoing commercial in confidence discussions with Federal Member for Kennedy Bob Katter who is actively seeking federal funding to complement the $6.3million offer from the Queensland Government.
Councillor Nolan said that Council had requested the State Government leave their offer on the table whilst negotiations continue to source further funding. “While the offer from the State Government is very generous, in the absence of additional funding, the project would place Council and the community in a compromised position.
“Additionally, since 2018, Council had been operating and maintaining the current sewerage treatment plant (STP) at Port Hinchinbrook under an interim funding agreement with Department of State Development, Tourism and Innovation.
“The agreement for the ongoing maintenance and operation of the STP and associated network have not been extended since it expired in August 2020 and none of the current proposals include funding towards this service.
“Since funding ceased in August, maintenance and operation of a privately owned asset in liquidation has cost Cassowary Coast ratepayers over $130,000 (up until end of April 2021). Council has formally requested the State Government repay these funds,” Councillor Nolan said. “For Council, continuing to operate of the STP without further funding would not be ideal and Councillors have voted to cease operations of the STP on 30 June 2021.
“By ceasing operations on 30 June 2021, this provides an opportunity for Passage Holdings, the Liquidator or property owners to come to other suitable arrangements on how sewerage services will continue to be provided at Port Hinchinbrook. This sees the wider Cassowary Coast region ceasing direct involvement with funding of this service.” Councillor Nolan reiterated that Council was committed to seeking a long term solution and will continue to negotiate with other government agencies to seek a solution.
On 11 March 2021, Council voted to accept, with conditions, a funding proposal from the Queensland Treasury relating to a funding proposal for the acquisition and construction of a new Sewerage Treatment Plant for Port Hinchinbrook Estate. Queensland Treasury has now responded to the conditions and is seeking further commitment from Council. Treasury have indicated support for some of the conditions but have indicated that they are unable to meet Council’s request for further funding.
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