Who is Pitt kidding on Cairns Port?

Port of Cairns State Treasurer and Member for Mulgrave Curtis Pitt, has submitted a desperate defence of the Palaszczuk Government’s handling of the future of the Port of Cairns (CP, 4 August, 2015). Mr Pitt’s extraordinary claim – that he has worked hard to ensure future development opportunities for the Port of Cairns can be accommodated – is hard to reconcile with the public record. Many Cairns and Far North Queensland residents will recall the infamous pre-emptive strike launched by Mr Pitt against the draft EIS, which was released in April for public comment. The Treasurer led the charge by Labor to knee cap efforts to progress the development of the Port of Cairns, at the expense of the communities he purports to represent. How ironic that in his latest opinion piece, Mr Pitt refers to this same EIS process as including projects to develop the Port of Cairns – a document he mocked and decried in April. I doubt Cairns industry and business leaders could forget the shock they would have received picking up the Cairns Post on 18 April and reading about Mr Pitt’s moves to sink all hope of expanding the Port. It beggars belief that three Labor Ministers – Anthony Lynham, Steven Miles and Curtis Pitt (a local Cairns Member) – had all lined up to torpedo a draft EIS that had only just been released for public comment. The former LNP Government had provided the first meaningful amount of funding ever committed to a proper investigation into a range of options for the future development of the Port of Cairns. This includes the future of the cruise ship industry for tourism, the future of HMAS Cairns for defence purposes and the future of cargo and freight as part of the push to develop the north In his most recent sermon, Mr Pitt writes the current EIS is a live process, which will be used as a vehicle to put in place an overarching plan for the expansion of the Port of Cairns. What a very different tune this is to the one the Treasurer and his Labor ministerial colleagues were whistling when they set out to sabotage the draft EIS with their press statement on 18 April. Mr Pitt says there has been misinformation and inaccurate statements about the Palaszczuk Government’s Sustainable Ports Development Bill and he wanted to put some facts on the table. The fact is the public record shows Curtis Pitt has already tried to prejudice the outcome of the EIS that is currently considering options for the future expansion of the Port of Cairns. Now the Palaszczuk Government is under pressure as Cairns’ civic and business leaders refuse to accept Labor’s interference. The question is, who does Curtis Pitt think he is kidding?  

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