MEDIA RELEASE 2nd March 2013
Friends of the Earth Kuranda is extremely concerned that if the Tablelands Regional Council is split-up, an incoming Mareeba Shire Council may try to avoid – yet again – expenditure on essential sewerage infrastructure.
It’s estimated $25 million or more must be spent on Mareeba’s sewerage over the next few years to satisfy basic environmental standards. This work is long overdue. The current Tablelands Regional Council is poised to commit expenditure and start the upgrade; by contrast, the old Mareeba Shire Council consistently avoided this task, creating the infrastructure backlog we face now.
Even though help from the Tablelands as a whole softens the financial burden on Mareeba and makes it easier for the town to clean up its act, a Mareeba separatist movement has sprung up which may well prevail at a referendum on March 9th
FoE Kuranda members have attended some of the public meetings on this issue over recent days. What’s been striking – and very alarming – is the proponents gatherings are unremittingly hostile to any measures to protect the environment and seem to lack all sense of urgency about Mareeba’s sewerage upgrade.
FoE Kuranda has long campaigned on water quality issues. Our concerns about pesticides in the Barron Rivers are not addressed at all by the proposed sewerage upgrade.. but we’ve been trying to push the envelope and bring this region into the 21stcentury.
Meanwhile, basic standards that first word communities achieved in the 20th century are still not met in Mareeba.
- There’s still no plan for protecting the region’s biodiversity (the separatists are deeply hostile to the process currently underway to develop one).
- Our water and waste management systems are way below best-practice and some of them are utterly decrepit.
What will it take for the Mareeba populace to give priority to its basic environmental responsibilities? A cholera outbreak?
Water from the Barron river is supplied to the townships of Mareeba and Kuranda , on its way to World Heritage areas of the Coral Sea.
Ultimately the State and Federal Governments must ensure that whoever manages this important region meets their broader responsibilities.
For more information contact: Pat Daly: 07 4093 8509 or use the Contact Us form