Hinchinbrook MP, Andrew Cripps, says a petition regarding the Garners Beach Cassowary Rehabilitation Centre will continue, despite an interim funding announcement by the Palaszczuk Government, because important resourcing questions have still not been answered.
Mr Cripps said after consultation with the Principal Petitioner and experienced local vet, Dr Graham Lauridsen, the petition would continue because the local community was no closer to knowing if the QPWS will allocate adequate resources to this important facility.
“This announcement from Premier Palaszczuk, Treasurer Pitt and Minister Miles – after two and a half weeks of stubborn silence -answers few of the questions put to them by myself and Dr Lauridsen, which are outlined in the petition we have launched” said Mr Cripps.
“This $50,000 of interim funding is a panicked, band-aid solution from a Labor Government that has no idea what is happening on the ground in terms of cassowary conservation in North Queensland and the performance of Minister Miles has been unimpressive” he said.
Mr Cripps said the statement from the Palaszczuk Government announcing the interim funding was full of factual errors, confirming it has no understanding of the arrangements in place at the Centre, or to respond to calls about sick or injured cassowaries or orphaned chicks.
“For example, the facility is not being operated by Rainforest Rescue at all – it is basically being run by Dr Lauridsen and a contractor to the QPWS – and there have been no volunteers involved in activities at the Centre since the feeding programs stopped after Cyclone Yasi”.
“It was also incorrect for the Palaszczuk Government to say that the QPWS hasn’t provided support to the Garners Beach Cassowary Rehabilitation Centre before – it has every year since it opened, until 2014 when Rainforest Rescue entered into the current agreement”.
“Also, the QPWS has always been involved in providing food for the resident cassowaries, undertaken maintenance on the facility and most importantly of all, Rangers have been available to respond to calls about sick or injured cassowaries, or orphaned chicks”.
“Furthermore, it is untruthful for the Palaszczuk Government to state that adult cassowaries had not been accepted at the Centre since it took over management of the facility last year – adult cassowaries that were either sick or injured, have certainly been resident there”.
Mr Cripps said the most concerning issue which had not been addressed by the Palaszczuk Government’s announcement was the withdrawal of resources by the QPWS for Rangers to respond to sick or injured cassowaries, or orphaned chick, outside business hours.