The water forum in Kuranda on July 21st attracted a well-informed audience who had the opportunity to listen to Dr Jon Brodie from JCU, one of the region’s experts on water quality issues, discuss a range of issues surrounding water pollution in the Coral Sea and its catchments, reef decline, farming practices, drinking water and water testing procedures.
Dr Brodie had had a chance to review water testing data that FoE Kuranda had previously obtained from the Tablelands Regional Council.
He mentioned some problems with the tests – and the great difficulty 0f testing in a catchment such as the Barron that has a highly complex agricultural system with many different crops and hundreds of pesticdes in use.
FoE Kuranda is concerned that – given this uncertainty – residents of Kuranda and Mareeba who rely on the town supply for drinking water may be at risk. This water is sourced from the Barron River.
The dismissive response of the TRC Mayor, while it may be understandable for legal reasons, is not a great confidence-builder.
Last week the ABC’s Four Corners program presented a highly alarming saga of government regulatory failure in the case of dioxins in herbicides – see The Chemical Timebomb.
The era has passed when the public is satisfied with ‘go back to sleep!” platitudes.
The Kuranda and Mareeba communities now face an even greater challenge making any real progress on this issue.
De-amalgamation of the Tablelands Regional Council would mean both townships are managed by a near-bankrupt new Council from January 1st 2014. Even maintaining current environmental and health standards will be a hard struggle thenceforth – let alone achieving improvements.