Rockhampton Regional Council has this morning reiterated its unwavering commitment towards reopening the Fireclay Caverns in Mount Morgan.
Councillors at today’s meeting resolved not to proceed with the compulsory acquisition of the native title but Mayor Tony Williams reassured the local community that Council was still committed to the project and would look for other avenues to progress it.
“Today’s decision is a clear sign we remain committed to seeing this incredible tourism and historical experience brought back to life but we want to do it the right way and the compulsory acquisition of native title isn’t that way,” Mayor Williams said.
“For Council to gain access to the land, the state government required Council to purchase the land and convert it to freehold and this triggered the need to compulsory acquire native title and the compulsory acquisition was never our preferred option..
“The deadline has been approaching on whether we’d proceed with the acquisition or not and we’ve had to ask ourselves is this the path forward we want to take?
“The answer is no. If we’re going to bring this experience back to life, we need to do it together – us, the community, the traditional owners and other levels of Government, all working together.
“Council will now write to both the State and Federal Government seeking recognition of the natural and historical significance of the Fireclay Caverns along with a request for assistance to stabilise and to conserve the caves to ensure this important site remains intact for future generations.
“I firmly believe that we have an obligation to history to see the Mount Morgan Fireclay Caverns reopened for the world to see and for people to walk in the literal footsteps of dinosaurs.
“I’d like to thank the passionate people in the Mount Morgan community who have advocated so passionately to Council about this issue, to the Gaangalu Nation People who have talked to us about this and given us their time, and to the divisional Councillor Cherie Rutherford who has lobbied tirelessly for this project.
“This project won’t happen overnight. But the community should be reassured we’re here to work with you – we’ve shown that with the water supply, we’ll do it again with this,” Mayor Williams said.