Saturday, April 30, 2016

Ginger and Tabby

 our lovely boy cats, brothers Ginger and Tabby have gone out and not come back. This is very sad for us and I will indulge myself by putting some of their photos here. They were great little cats, just over 1 year old and expert climbers and chasers and hiders, helpers in the garden and curious in the work shop and now we miss their antics a lot.


Electricity- still a hot topic

 well, one wouldn't suspect it in May 2016 in Australia, but electricity or the absence of it, is still a hot topic. Not so much for our government in Brisbane, but they most probably don't believe us- that is my guess.
Read this from Rob, who is very good putting a complex issue together:
Rob Lapaer posted in Daintree Hour aims to end pollution and energy poverty in the Daintree.
Rob Lapaer
April 30 at 4:38pm
The Mossman Gazette has re-published my open letter to the premier about the Daintree not getting a fair go, no doubt it will generate comments from the readers, and I have replied to them.
It does not matter that today it is only Saturday and it will take another five days for the newspaper to hit the shops for me to read it, I already know what they are going to say anyway as it is always the same:

1. It was your choice to go and live there...

Yes, that is right, and when I moved in to Cape Trib in 1993 it was an area just getting settled and resorts were being built, phone lines were already in the ground all throughout the Daintree, the road was getting better by the week, and at that time power supply was talked of as a matter of WHEN, not IF.
The whole Daintree was within the legal distribution area of the electricity provider at the time, and there was no way of knowing that seven years later we were going to be cut out of this distribution area without compensation. How could I possible have known I had just bought a property in the only place in the western world where a government would legislate against basic services essential to its own citizens? Everywhere else governments want to see prosperous happy communities.

2. If you don’t like it why don’t you move?

Not many people are willing to buy a property without electricity supply, or even if they are then they will not pay a realistic price, as they have trouble obtaining finance because most banks have the Daintree on their black list. This means Daintree residents who want or need to move can not sell their places for a price that will buy a comparable place somewhere else in Australia. They can not afford to move and are trapped. Moving out without selling your house is also not an option as renting out means tenants trashing your batteries or stealing your generator as often happens.

3. A grid will bring over-development to a pristine area.

WRONG! A three point plan was agreed on between government and stake holders in 2009.
Point 1: Buyback of unoccupied and other selected blocks of land.
Point 2: An amended restrictive town plan to take away the threat of over-development on the remaining blocks not bought back.
Point 3: Grid power to be provided.
Points 1 and 2 happened but nearly two decades later we are still waiting for point 3 and at three million litres of fuel per year that gets trucked across the river (as established in survey) another 30 000 tonnes of CO2 has been pumped in to our World Heritage listed rain forest since then, and countless businesses and households have gone broke and closed or left the area.

4. You bought cheap land because there was never going to be any grid power, it was never promised.

WRONG! FNQEB was ready to put electricity in, it was only a matter of WHEN, and not IF, for many years. Various politicians over the years committed to the provision of mains power.
Jeff Seeney has made promises in the past of Coalition commitment to providing power to the Daintree, I have his fax here for anyone who want to see it. FNQEB has done several studies in the 1990's in to the best way to build the power supply, and if ultra-greens had not stopped them it would have happened a long time ago, now we have the ironic situation where greens are responsible for ongoing pollution.

5. People that want power only want to make profits on real estate.

WRONG! Nobody in the Daintree is going to walk away with fat profits. Over the last two decades real estate has surged everywhere in Australia but in the Daintree it has stagnated, this means that people in the Daintree who go broke paying for fuel and generators can not move away and sell their place and get a comparable place elsewhere in the country. A grid would change the value of Daintree real estate somewhat but it is never going to catch up with the rest of the country. It would only mean that maybe then residents can afford to move and not give away their land for peanuts and start with a new mortgage elsewhere in Australia where all real estate has tripled in value over the last two decades.

6. You Daintree people should use renewable energy.

If this was a viable option we would be doing it!
All renewable energy options have been thoroughly examined in the Daintree.
Solar panels need sun, and as rainforests tend to have many trees that provide shade, and even more so have a lot of rain and cloud, solar panels do not work very often, even the newest technology! While small households with enough investment may be able to run on this (together with backup generator), it is not an option for businesses with larger power demands for refrigeration etc.
Hydro electricity to supply a whole community would require damming of creeks which means too high environmental impact, and wind turbines have just been banned near World Heritage areas by our government. Other technologies are still too expensive and experimental.
Renewable energy in the Daintree now means renewing generators, battery banks and other equipment.

7. You can not expect the Govt to pay a grid from public money.

Why not? All other infrastructure in Australia was built with public money. Nowhere else in Australia have residents had to get together to discuss and finance their own basic infrastructure. Only a tiny percentage of Ergon's annual $404 million profit is needed. ARENA has $2.5 billion in funding available for renewable energy projects, hundreds of millions have been spent on solar farms near Cooktown and Weipa, and 34 remote indigenous communities have power grids built and maintained from public money.

What we need now is our government to be pro-active in sorting out this situation, instead of ignoring us and knocking back any proposal we make.
1. It goes against all common sense and environmental commitments Australia makes at international conferences to have hundreds of generators roaring side by side.
2. The Queensland Government has created this mess by a.) approving the subdivision of the Daintree and b.) banning grid power and excluding the area from the distribution area of the state’s electricity supplier. They created this mess in these two steps and that makes it their responsibility to clear up this mess.

If you want to do something useful then copy the letter to the premier below and email it to her, the more she hears from us the sooner we can move out of our third world living situation.