Daintree homes to receive electric power
LAWS banning electricity in the World Heritage listed Daintree have been overturned, giving residents and business owners the option to get rid of the costly diesel generators they've been using for more than a decade.
Energy Minister Mark McArdle was in Cairns yesterday to announce the 12-year-old policy was being scrapped, and the long process of introducing new forms of energy into the protected area would begin immediately.
The 1200 residents in the affected area currently need to have an individual generator for each home and building, and the cost of running some businesses is as high as $30,000 a year.
Cook MP David Kempton said the old policy was "harsh", was oppressing businesses in the area and was a burden on local lifestyles.
"They've got the cost of transporting the diesel in, I have complaints from ladies going out late at night trying to turn handles on generators to get them going, and it's not a constant source of power," Mr Kempton said.
He believes new power sources will lower the cost of tourist offerings north of the Daintree River because operators will be paying less for their power.
Under the changes, people can apply to the Queensland Energy Regulator to install isolated power networks that would allow more than one building to be powered from the same source.
"This type of energy supply will be far more efficient and economical than the previous policy," Mr McArdle said.
But he insists the new plan will not mean obtrusive power poles and wires are introduced to the pristine rainforest.
"First, it needs to be understood that this change does not mean the government will be paying for a new energy supply in the region," he said.
"Second, this is a process that will take time. Proper planning is essential to protect the Daintree's environment."
Leichhardt MP Warren Entsch said the Federal Government should step in to help residents north of the river as they transition to new power supplies, which should set the standard for eco-friendly energy.
"Residents now need to look hard at the options available to them," Mr Entsch said.
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