Hinchinbrook MP, Andrew Cripps, has challenged Environment Minister, Steven Miles, over his knowledge of issues relating to the Garners Beach Cassowary Rehabilitation Centre, asking him if he has any idea about what actually goes on at the Mission Beach facility.
Mr Cripps has also called on Minister Miles to appoint respected located veterinarian, Dr Graham Lauridsen, to undertake the assessment of Expressions of Interest lodged with the Queensland Government to provide, or support, rehabilitation services for cassowaries.
“I wrote to Minister Miles following his reply to the petition, signed by 6,500 people and tabled in the Queensland Parliament on 15 September 2015, which contained statements about the Cassowary Rehabilitation Centre that were highly questionable” said Mr Cripps.
“A discussion with Dr Laurisden confirmed the statements were highly questionable and in fact, he had already raised concerns with Barron River MP, Craig Crawford, who had represented Minister Miles at a World Cassowary Day event at Mission Beach on 26 September 2015.
“Mr Crawford read a statement from Minister Miles at the event claiming the Department of Environment and Heritage Protection (EHP) had undertaken a number of upgrades at the facility, after which Dr Lauridsen advised him that this was inaccurate and misleading”.
“I understand Mr Crawford expressed a degree of embarrassment, explained that the remarks had been prepared for him and undertook to advise Minister Miles personally, but despite Dr Lauridsen’s efforts to communicate with EHP and the Minister, nothing has been done”.
Mr Cripps said the Expressions of Interest (EOI) process that EHP was currently conducting in search of potential partners to provide, or support, rehabilitation services for cassowaries had closed on 16 October 2015 and would now be assessed for suitability.
“In view of the fact that two previous partnerships with non-government organisations to support the Garners Beach Cassowary Rehabilitation Centre have not been successful, I’ve suggested to the Minister that people external to EHP be appointed to assess the EOI’s”.
“I have recommended to Minister Miles that he at least appoint Dr Lauridsen to undertake this process – I think the inclusion of external expertise and perspective, such as that of Dr Lauridsen, would be of great benefit and increase public confidence in this process”.
Mr Cripps said he had also repeated his call for Minister Miles to meet with Dr Lauridsen face to face and discuss with him the issues associated with operating the Garners Beach Cassowary Rehabilitation Centre, which he has been personally involved with for the last 15 years.