Referendum to decide Douglas future

Tuesday 27 March 2012

Referendum to decide Douglas future

De-amalgamation of the Douglas region from Cairns Regional Council will be first on the agenda for incoming member for Cook, David Kempton, following a tight win in Saturday’s state election.

The Captain Cook Highway, reliable power to Mossman and an upgrade of Douglas region roads will also be high on the list for Kempton, but he said de-amalgamation is the keystone for the Douglas region’s other issues.

“We’ve got to get the process in places for the de-amalgamation issue to be resolved asap, as that is where everything else flows (from).

“The waterfront development obviously has a priority, but that will be determined under Cairns Regional Council or a new Douglas Shire. We need to get an infrastructure plan running.”

Mr Kempton confirmed a referendum would be held within 100 days of winning government where the LNP will “look at the boundary issues”.

“We need to get it to a referendum as quickly as possible and put it to the people whether they want a Douglas Shire Council back, the cost of doing it and economic viability thereafter, and then we’re right to go,” he said.

Mr Kempton confirmed that the cost of holding referendum was also one of the big issues that needed to be addressed, but said he didn’t want to speculate on what the referendum would cost taxpayers.

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He also raised concerns about the repeated closure of the Captain Cook Highway.

“The link road between Cairns and Port Douglas is a vital lifeline and it’s continually broken. We’ve got to get some practical solutions about keeping that link open.

“The roads in a lot of areas up there really need a lot of major work done.”

Mr Kempton told The Newsport he expects to be back in his electorate early next week to set up office in Mareeba and other centres throughout the area before facing the task of delivering on the LNP’s election promises.

“I’ve got a lot of work to do,” he said.