There, I thought that’d get someone’s attention.

What’s this crazy guy talking about?

Why would the newly elected Mayor of Cairns Regional Council, with a mandate for greener and more humane policies, risk the health of the Cairns population by giving them potentially toxic water to drink?

I hope she won’t, and that’s good news for Kuranda.

It would mean that at long last, someone in government may test the Barron River for pesticides and other toxic chemicals – and make the data public.

I’ll explain. On commercial talkback radio last week, several days after her election, the new Mayor was asked a question about expanding Cairns’ water supply.

In her reply, Val Schier enthused about proposals to divert some of the Barron River flow – presumably from the lower Barron – for use in Cairns.

I wonder if she has ever inquired what is poured into the Barron catchment, year in, year out, by the tablelands farming community? I wonder if she has any handle on rumours of toxic leaching from Mareeba landfills?

I wonder if Val Schier – like Friends of the Earth Kuranda – has ever asked State Government representatives detailed questions about Barron River water quality. FoE Kuranda was fobbed off with evasive waffle. How did she go?

Without real data on this, Mayor Schier is very unwise to pledge Barron water to her thirsty residents.

On the other hand, WITH real data, users of the lower catchment can apply – if necessary – real pressure on the upper and especially the catchment river ‘users’ to clean up their act.

Will it be necessary to detoxify the Barron by implementing significantly different agricultural, waste management and sewerage practices upstream of Kuranda?

Without any real data on the pesticide or heavy metal content of Barron river water, who on earth knows?

Let’s hope Val Schier will find out – and make the data public, ASAP.

Of course, if the plan is to filter out all nasties before they enter the water supply of Cairns, the public needs real information about that too.

Perhaps Cairns can secure a safely filtered town water supply from the much-abused Barron? Apparently Kuranda does so at present – although who can be sure about that?

Even so, questions about water quality will persist until we get honest and comprehensive answers. Is biological concentration occuring? If so, are fish in the middle Barron safe to eat? They seem to be a significant part of the local diet, especially for Aboriginal people in the Myola valley.

Are we still poisoning the indigenous people of this land?

Over to you, Val. You should now have ready access to information the State Government doesn’t seem keen to obtain or release.

Do us all a favour – coast dwellers and tablelanders both.

Let’s have the facts!