A round table conference and a phone call to a senior bureaucrat was all it took to pull the State Government into line over its attempt to plunder the assets of the Port Douglas Marine Rescue group.
At the invitation of the Port Douglas Marine Rescue Volunteer group (QF10)commander Ross Wood, KAP candidate for Cook Gordon Rasmussen and Bob Katter were invited to discuss the impasse between the Coast Guard national management and QF10.
The National Coast Guard had seized the assets of QF10 including their sea rescue boat and vehicles because the locally funded group refused to hand over $300,000 in a bank account and the ‘Tin Shed’ building, provided by community fund-raising.
The National Coast Guard, in a similar grab by the Emergency Services Department trying to take over the Rural Fire Service under the recent LNP Government, the coast guard wanted to absorb QF10 into its bureaucracy.
The Port Douglas group of volunteers refused and it seems Bob Katter’s call to the Minister’s office yielded results.
Katter told the Chief of Staff: “ …look, I am not looking to pick a fight with you but you had better fix this up….”
The staffer told Mr Katter a delegation from the department would arrive in Port Douglas the next day.
Combined with mediation bythe Douglas Shire Council the matter was resolved and after 10 weeks out of action the boating public will again be protected by volunteer coast guard crews.