Labor’s Acting Energy Minister, Curtis Pitt, has attempted to score political points by announcing a partnership agreement between Ergon Energy and the Tully Coast Guard about its radio facility on Mount Mackay – but there is just one problem – no one has told the Tully Coast Guard.
Hinchinbrook MP, Andrew Cripps, said despite Minister Pitt making the announcement at last Friday’s budget estimates in Brisbane, as of today, no one from the Tully Coast Guard has been contacted by the Palaszczuk Government, or Ergon Energy about a partnership agreement.
Mr Cripps said it was clear that in Labor’s rush to try and manufacture a good news story for the Acting Minister, they had neglected to inform the Tully Coast Guard and Minister Pitt’s statements during the budget estimates committee hearing included a number of serious factual errors.
“First, Minister Pitt claimed temporary measures had been put in place to keep the facilities operational – this is a false statement, as Channel 80 remains out of service after Ergon cut the supply of power to the Tully Coast Guard’s radio facility on Mount Mackay” said Mr Cripps.
“Second, the former Energy Minister, Mark Bailey, did meet with the Tully Coast Guard in June, but in contrast to what Curtis Pitt told the estimates committee on Friday, Minister Bailey left saying he would contact them (but still hasn’t) and there was no talk of a partnership agreement” he said.
Mr Cripps labelled the Palaszczuk Government’s partnership announcement a clayton’s solution, given the Tully Coast Guard still faced costs to move its radio installation as part of Ergon’s upgrade to the Mount Mackay site and there was only a three year agreement on the table.
“While I’m sure Tully Coast Guard volunteers will welcome the news they don’t have to pay Ergon almost $11,000 in rent each year for the next three years, the obvious question is what happens after that – Labor has resolved nothing, it has just kicked this problem down the road”.
“This political stunt from the Palaszczuk Government is a disgrace and boaties in the Cassowary Coast Region won’t be fooled by it, because Channel 80 still isn’t working and the Tully Coast Guard still has no certainty about the future of their radio installation on Mount Mackay”.
Mr Cripps said the issue would not be resolved until Ergon restored the supply of power it cut to the Tully Coast Guard’s radio equipment to re-establish Channel 80 and confirmed that equipment could be permanently co-located at Mount Mackay without incurring ridiculous costs.