In his interview with Fab FM’s Paul Makin, Mayor Kerr raised the annual dredging of the Daintree River to sustain the Ferry operation. The impact of this annual dredging on the environment will no doubt be a consideration during the review into the Ferry / Bridge options. Some have questioned why the ferry service is managed, and at the expense of the Council and not a State Department of Transport and Mains Roads responsibility as is the case for many other Ferry services in QLD.
The Mayor also announced that the 2020/21 Fees and Charges Schedule was to be tabled at a Special Council Meeting held on Tuesday 2ndJune with an increase of 2.2% proposed. The motion was not passed with Councillor Zammataro proposing that there be no increases in Fees and Charges. Councillors unanimously agreed that the motion be deferred for further consideration. Now is not the time for increases in Fees and Charges. It is a time for Council to undertake a diligent review of all expenditure and focus on the provision of essential services. Mayor Kerr also announced that a playground in Craiglie would be built. Over half a million dollars has been allocated to a playground renewal program across the Shire. Should the Council be proceeding with this type of expenditure before a full assessment of the budget has been undertaken. It is reasonable to expect that Council take all necessary action to enable a freeze on rate increase for 20/21 i.e. a freeze on headcount or be able to demonstrate a cost neutral impact where an additional position is proposed.
The appointment of the new Tourism and Economic Development Office Position was also raised by the Mayor. It would be reasonable to expect that the costs associated with this new position will mean at the very least, a reduction in funding to TPDD to offset this additional cost.
We are hopeful that a full review of how the Council spends ratepayer money to support tourism in the region will be undertaken. The return on a significant investment over many years supporting TPDD, has not been evident. Perhaps a funding model that aligns with quantitative measures of performance and benchmarked against other comparable tourism regions is in order. It’s time for a change in approach particularly with the challenges ahead.
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To hear the full interview with Paul Makin and Mayor Kerr, go to: