3 July, 2024

Mother Nature’s cruel blow

DOUGLAS Shire Council residential ratepayers will pay an extra $1.27 a week and property investors $2.08 after the council brought down its $64 million annual budget this week.

Mother Nature’s cruel blow - feature photo

Overall rates increase by 5.94 per cent and the average residential rates bill will be $3096.

Nearly half –  $31.2m – will be spent on capital works, with $15m provided for road repairs north and south of the Daintree River, river ferry landside improvements and $7m on the water supply.

Mayor Lisa Scomazzon said the 2024-25 budget allowed for a $272,000 surplus.

“I believe that this budget reflects that commitment to recovery, sustainability and the betterment of our community,” she said at a special meeting on Tuesday. 

“This year has been unlike any other due to ex-Tropical Cyclone Jasper and the recovery process that continues to this day. Jasper made landfall on December 13 last year but it was the associated weather event that followed which had devastating consequences for the Douglas Shire.

“It led to major flooding, landslips, overnight evacuations, homes being destroyed, water infrastructure being damaged and roads collapsing.” 

Works included:

Road crews removing a 56m landslip from Noah Range

Restoring access to Cape Tribulation after months of isolation

Ongoing support to rebuild Degarra 

New filters installed at Mossman and Whyanbeel improving production rates, major pipe installations replacing flood-damaged mains and new back-up water tanks.

“Fortunately, these recovery projects have been made possible due to funding from the Queensland Reconstruction Authority,” Cr Scomazzon said.

“Council has also considered the struggles many have faced over the past six months. Some families and organisations have been displaced while their homes are restored or rebuilt, while some businesses have suffered disruptions to trade due to flood damage. The local farming community has been rocked by the demise of Mossman mill. I believe that we have managed to get the best result we can to keep the broader general rate rise for residents as low as possible whilst committing to maintaining service levels.

“An investment of nearly $7m into water supply is a reflection of the need to improve water security if another natural disaster of that magnitude occurs again. 

“Council has allocated an additional $1.56m to build the highly-anticipated splash park at Port Douglas. This is a priority project for the community, according to feedback council has received during the planning stages. 

“In conclusion, the 2024/2025 budget reflects our commitment to continue the recovery process and bring a sense of business-as-usual back to our community. 

“Physically the Douglas Shire has been changed forever due to the devastating power of mother nature. However, I am confident in time, and with investment in the right areas, we can reach new levels of vibrancy and growth.”


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