MP JOHN MACKENZIE AND HIS BOOTLICKER GAVIN KING SHARE THE SAME ETHICAL SYSTEM - NONE!

MP JOHN MACKENZIE AND HIS BOOTLICKER GAVIN KING SHARE THE SAME ETHICAL SYSTEM - NONE!
MP JOHN MACKENZIE AND HIS BOOTLICKER GAVIN KING SHARE THE SAME ETHICAL SYSTEM - NONE!

24 July 2014

LAKE STREET OPENED UP THROUGH CITY PLACE - BUT WHY HAS THE AIRPORT CONNECTION STALLED?

Bob "Sleepy" Manning has sent out today's Cairns nonRegional Council's "inFocus" email, touting the City Place destruction project's early finish.  No mention about the dodgy consultation period and bankrupt businesses.



We  started asking questions of Council earlier this week about the stalled Lake Street connector to Airport Road.  This intersection has been finished for weeks, and yet hasn't been opened.

Turns out Council forgot to order the traffic lights.

That's right.  THEY FORGOT.

Several Council managers have been pointing the finger at
each other, so it's likely this will be another Council SNAFU from these high-paid managers that will see no one copping the blame.

So we're likely to see cones and poles san lights for quite some time.  Do you get to use "the dog ate my homework" as an excuse in your workplace?




23 July 2014

LAUGH OF THE DAY

Former Mayor Kevin "STILL hiding from the Pakis" Byrne, on the radio this morning, offering his years of leadership experience to Premier Campbell Newman:

"He's got to show more humility and compassion".

Can you imagine?  Kevin Byrne giving "humility advice"?  About as funny as Ian Thorpe doing commercials for E-Harmony.

Byrne still failed to grasp that it was his arrogance and disdain for the electorate that saw him scurry off to PNG after losing to Mayor Val Schier.  You only have to recall the vision of him running out of a Clifton Beach community meeting as residents, angry at the lack of consultation on what's turned into another Udo Jattke apartment ghetto, turned on Fat Kev just weeks before Val Schier cleaned his clock.

Close the cellar door, we don't need to see the troll again!




22 July 2014

WORLD-LARGEST HOTELIERS ATTACK AUSTRALIAN TOURIST AGENCIES FOR ONEROUS AND ABUSIVE VISA PROCESS FOR CHINESE TRAVELERS

In a scathing attack, Accor Pacific Chairman Michael Isenberg and InterContinental Hotels Asia CEO Jan Smit confirmed that onerous and costly visa applications were inhibiting tourism traffic to Australia.

Surveys of potential international travelers in China consistently place Australia as the #1 aspirational destination.

However those aspirations aren't achieved with actual bookings by the Chinese - with a 20 page immigration form, (that can't be completed online), $120 filing fee, and several week delay just two of the impediments.

Hoteliers at the conference also attacked the federal
government for not appointing a Tourism Minister, noting that Tourism Australia was operating in a disjointed and uncoordinated way.

The comments made at this tourism conference were oddly not published by any of the News Limited-owned media outlets in Australia.  Funny that.

Australia has long been known for a difficult, slow, and costly tourist visa process, that to many potential tourists signals "go somewhere else".  This difficult process is a major impediment to sustainable Chinese tourism - indeed these visa issues were one of the issues cited to Cairns Airport officials when the Chinese Eastern flights were suspended. 

Meanwhile, USA carrier United Airlines will soon begin the first direct service from Shanghai to Guam  - with many hopeful that this signals a forthcoming approval for Chinese tourists to enter Guam under the USA Visa Waiver program.  The US consulates in China are already operating a "fast track" tourist visa for Guam, with the wait generally less than 2 days.  An earlier addition of Russia to the Guam Visa Waiver program has seen large numbers of Asian-based Russians flying from Vladivostok to Guam - as the Russian-language signs in Guam businesses now attest.    

Guam, which strongly markets itself in Asian countries as a budget Hawaii (with most of Asia within about 4 hours of Guam), could see Cairns stripped of much of the growing tropical destination market - by sheer ineptitude and government bullshit.




21 July 2014

GAMBLING WREAKS HAVOC ON SOCIETY IN MACAU WHILE OUR LOCAL OFFICIALS REFUSE TO EVEN TAKE A LOOK

MUCH OF THE MACAU POPULATION HAS
MISSED OUT ON THE CASINO BONANZA
One year, after the first announcements about the Aquis resort and CASINO project, Mayor Bob "Sleepy" Manning was at a charity luncheon chatting with councillor John Schilling and other residents.  One highly-placed CBD businessman asked Manning if he had ever been to Macau.  Manning and Schilling both responded in the negative.

A year later, with this the most important project for Cairns speeding ever closer to approval, NOT ONE of our elected civic leaders have bothered to take the time and energy to GO to Macau, or Singapore, and see for themselves the impacts that be expected in Cairns from this project.  All they're left with is the rosy pictures painted by the developer, and some insane notion that Macau = Las Vegas.


Hu Xingdou, an economics professor in Beijing, told the LA Times, "Gambling is a big part of Chinese human nature.  Tied to it are beliefs in superstition, numerology, and a desire to get rich quick.  Chinese are the biggest gamblers in the world", Hu said.  "Thousands of years under an imperial system that tries to keep people down leads to a mentality of trying to become super-rich overnight, preferably without hard work".  This pent-up desire to gamble has been released along with the economic reforms since 1990.

It's no wonder the current Chinese Communist Imperial System won't allow gambling in their country.  



MONEY LAUNDERING


A recent report from the federal agency AUSTRAC has outlined the growing use of Australia as a location to launder hot money.  Casinos have always been locations where corrupt operators + organised crime = money laundering.  However the problems at "Chinese" casinos are not just organised crime syndicates, but individual criminals, government officials, and others pushing Mainland Chinese government assets thru the machinery.  And while AUSTRAC freely admits they are only seeing the tip of the iceberg, the Abbott government is CUTTING the AUSTRAC budget.  



Crown Casino in Melbourne has been used by these gangs to launder millions.  In one major case, the culprits were caught and prosecuted in a Las Vegas case, where their confiscated records showed $23M went thru Crown with not a raised eyebrow, or any Australian prosecutions.

And when the Mainland government conducts one of their periodic (but useless) anti-corruption campaigns, gaming revenue at the Macau casinos dip in response.  Only to resume the usual level of corrupt money as the Mainland government turns to killing mosquitos or some other worthless task.

Corruption in China is a pandemic.  Routine "crackdowns" by the central government are part of a regular show for the public that do little to stop it.  In June of 2011, it was documented that between 16,000 and 18,000 officials and management of Chinese government-owned firms have fled with stolen funds - estimated at up to $120 BILLION.  The stories are too numerous to repeat here, but a good source of this reporting CAN BE FOUND HERE.

Macau's phenomenal success is based on a formula that facilitates, and indeed ENCOURAGES money laundering.  Our political leaders have little understanding of how Macau works - and yet they're running headlong into dropping one of these corruption machines in Yorkey's Knob.

Australian regulators can't stop us from being gouged by fees at ATM's.  Anyone think our regulators have the ability to identify Mainland Chinese money laundering?  Good luck with that.


THE "PAWN SHOP"


Several years ago, the Mainland Chinese government introduced tourism currency controls.  Outbound tourists are only allowed to take ¥20,000 (AU$3600) per person overseas.  To counteract this limitation, Macau casino interests set up "The Pawn Shop".  Not real pawn shops as
we know them, these shops were set up to assist Mainland Chinese into skirting the currency controls.  You go in, purchase a fake Rolex for $15,000 and put it on your Union Pay charge card.  Receipt and dodgy Rolex in hand, you go to the next window where they'll buy your fake Rolex back, no questions asked, for $12,000, in any kind of cash you want.

Bob Manning has been heard comparing the Aquis project with the Daikyo investment in Cairns in the late 1980's.  Then state treasurer and Cairns MP Keith De Lacy in fact fought against Daikyo investment in Queensland until ordered to stand down by Premier Wayne Goss.  Daikyo investment in Cairns never exceeded $800M, 10% of the Tony Fung proposals.  And there was never any thought that Daikyo's golf courses would be hotbeds of criminal activity or money laundering.

And though few in Cairns would be aware, Daikyo emerged from its financial reorganization as a solid company that again is investing in Australia - with Brisbane and the Gold Coast on their radar - apparently ignoring the Cairns market this time around.


AQUIS WILL KILL THE LOCAL ECONOMY


In a comprehensive, well-respected study by Dr. E.L. Grinols and Professor Dr. David Mustard entitled "Casinos, Crime, and Community Costs" (2000), it was shown that crime increased in almost every locality where a casino was built.  In their 2006 update to this work, they discuss the five negative effects of casinos that increase crime.


  • Casinos drain the local economy of resources
  • Increased crime payoff
  • Increased number of pathological gamblers
  • Casinos attract criminal activity
  • Casinos induce a change in the local population towards one apt to commit more crimes

Grinols and Mustard conclude that the social costs of casinos are far greater than the benefits.  Indeed, crime statistics show that crimes of all kinds have almost tripled in Macau in the two decades.

We urge you to source a copy of this work - much of it freely available from the authors and Baylor University. 

Think we can get Bob Manning, Gavin "Chinese are Freaks and Weirdos" King, or Michael "who stole the backhoe?" Trout to read anything that would allow them to intellectually analyse what they're about to do to Cairns?

It's criminal that these dickheads won't even get on a plane to take a look at what Macau has wrought.

19 July 2014

GAVIN KING, ASS. TOURISM MINISTER, LAUNCHES NEW QUEENSLAND TOURISM AD CAMPAIGN

LATEST TTNQ ADVERTISING CAMPAIGN - BRAINCHILD OF MP FOR MACKENZIE, GAVIN KING - - 
ASS. TOURISM MINISTER

15 July 2014

AQUIS resort & CASINO BUSINESS PLANNING - CAN THIS REALLY BE THE MOST EXPENSIVE HOTEL IN THE WORLD???






This "7 Star" hotel is the pinnacle of luxury.  This 202 suite hotel, sitting in the Arabian Gulf adjacent to downtown Dubai, cost $230,000,000 to construct.  Each room, the smallest being larger than most Cairns apartments at 170 sq meters, therefore required an investment of $1.13m "per key".  That's how hotels are bought and sold - "per-room", or "per-key" - because it is the most reliable way to value an income property like a hotel.

This smallest of rooms at the Burj Al Arab will cost you about $2000 PER NIGHT.  It's not known if breakfast is included.

Of course, hotel values go up and down depending on their age, their location, and additional amenities.  Convention hotels in hot convention locations have the most value.  And despite what you might think is logical, casino hotels are not valued much more than non-casino hotels.  In the United States, the highest-valued hotel rooms are in New York, at $597,188 per key.  Las Vegas, coming off an extended downturn, sees their rooms valued at $154,343 - and they've never been much over $250K per key.

It therefore makes little sense to invest much more than the actual appraised value of the hotel on a "per-room" basis.  Invest more than what you can get in income from the room, and you lose money.  Business 101.  (Pay attention Andrew G!)  NO major hotel operator is going to sign on to a project that cannot be profitable.

One of the first things that troubled us about the EIS and project description was the amount of floor space dedicated to the hotel rooms.  The EIS calls out 625,000m2 as the gross area of the rooms, not including back-of-house and hallway areas.  This suggests a room size of 87m2 - not the Burj Al Arab, but twice the size of any other hotel room in Cairns - and indeed all of Australia.

However the "per-key" valuation method applied to this development has us completely confounded. The so-called $8.2billion Tony Fung & Associates investment in this property pencils out to:  


wait for it:  

$1,093,333 per room!

Just a shade under the Burj Al Arab, but with no hope in attracting anywhere near $2000 per night, you've got to wonder what investor in their right mind would put money into this financial white elephant.


Even this Abbott Street hotel, currently listed for sale, follows the "per-key" rule, with the adjusted price asked at about $184k per key.

Clearly, the amount of money budgeted for Aquis includes huge sums to make this seaside flood-guaranteed site ready to carry the massive size of this project.  How much?  Those in the construction field say $2B minimum on site works before any above-ground construction can begin.

Indeed, we're now a year since all the "Chinese hoopla" began - the purchase and rehab of the Sheraton Mirage in Port Douglas by Chinese Fullshare.  The purchase of Double Island and the Acacia Court hotels by Benny Wu, both which have resulted in - well, nothing.  Not a hammer has been lifted to fix any of these tired properties over a year after they were snapped up.  Mackay Council also reports that the Fullshare purchase of Laguna Quays there has resulted in no development action, either. 

Additionally, Wu purchased the fully-approved Kewarra Beach Retirement Village, and in a city with strong demand for this kind of elderly accommodation, Wu has done nothing.

None of this makes sense unless regular economics isn't important.  This can happen for a variety of reasons, including the laundering of money with less than honorable origins.  There is no indication that anything like this has happened in any of these cases.  

But the numbers just don't stack up.  If the government is concerned about getting a VIABLE project, there's got to be some questioning of these numbers. 

==================================

UPDATE:  During a private, closed meeting last night at
FUNG REPRESENTATIVE MICHAEL KING, HIMSELF
SUBECT OF FRAUD INVESTIGATION BY ASIC
Brothers, packed with salivating real estate leeches, the Cairns Post reported that Tony Fung's representative, Michael King, assured everyone that Fung was fully capable of funding the $8.2B project.  


It apparently involves a float on (ASX?  Shanghai?  Elsewhere?) a stock market.   First we've heard of that - nothing mentioned about public ownership in the EIS.

And Fung representative Michael King, formerly head of the now defunct MFS/Octaviar Gold Coast property fiasco, is still under criminal investigation by the ASIC himself for forged and backdated documents.  Seems like an odd choice for Fung who's already suffering from massive credibility problems.

Thanks to Tony Hiller for the additional information.

12 July 2014

JCU AQUIS SYMPOSIUM - HUNDREDS GATHER IN XANADU UNDER MASS DELUSION THAT GOVERNMENT CONSULTATIONS ACTUALLY MEAN SOMETHING

Some 400 interested residents filled a lecture hall at JCU Smithfield on Thursday night, for an event entitled "The Aquis Casino Resort EIS Community Information Symposium".  It sadly was the intersection of two parallel universes.  The first featured three hours of theoretical and scientific explanations (but no conclusions) about the Aquis EIS from JCU professors who, despite their protestations, perhaps were more concerned about keeping their jobs (and the dream of most academics, future consulting gigs) then protecting their community.  In the second universe were the residents angry that any of this was being discussed in a rational manner - a group wanting to "rage against the machine" but not having a clue how that works.   Their undercurrent of hostility towards this project was what the organizers desperately attempted to keep "in the bottle" all night.  

The symposium was frankly a profound waste of everyone's
time.

The JCU professors, comfortable living in some academic fairy land, believe that shortcomings in the EIS can be pointed out to the Coordinator General, will get some kind of intelligent response from the government and Aquis developers, and then we can all go arm and arm into some kind of Chinese-fueled nirvana while singing "Kumbaya" and eating yumcha falling from the sky.

But it's hard to understand how a large group of intelligent, mostly tertiary-educated city migrants to Cairns have deluded themselves into thinking that somehow a few submissions about shortcomings in the EIS will have any impact on this project.  Are you people daft?

As we pointed out when the project was first announced - the fix is in.  The public has zero chance of stopping it.

Despite the wide range of community members in attendance, not one current politician was in attendance.  NOT ONE.  Think of the significance of this snub.

Why would Michael Trout, Gavin King, the Mayor (past his bedtime), or any local councillors (sorry, we don't know who they are, either) attend?  They don't operate in this parallel Kumbaya universe.  They know what most in Cairns know - the fix is in.  If they are in favour of the project, why should they say anything and alienate a voter?  If they're against, they have enough political sense to know the obvious - the fix is in.  Let Campbell Newman take the flak - he'll be gone at the next election, anyway.

Also absent were any representatives from the developer, Tony Fung (except for a couple of unidentified East Berliners on the developer's Stasi payroll).  A "normal" project would see the developer in the room, explaining his intentions to the neighbours and addressing their concerns.   

The EIS that has been proffered has met the government's requirements for an $8B project and a political (not technical) approval process.  It has lots of words, on lots of pages; charts, graphs, and footnotes.  It has pretty drawings.  It talks about jobs and more airplanes coming to Cairns.  That's all the Coordinator General, head of a political department, needs to approve this politically-driven EIS.  An approval that is ultimately under the control of political commissar Jeff Seeney, and his boss Campbell "Joh Bjelke" Newman.

We believe strongly that everyone should have their say, and if you're so motivated, please put your objections in writing to the Coordinator General about Aquis.  Just don't become delusional and believe it will make one whit of difference.  THE FIX IS IN!  

During the bitch question period at the end, the audience frustration with the direction of the symposium was clearly expressed by most of the audience.  One migrant from Melbourne told an exceptionally poignant story about his experience with the introduction of gambling to Victoria in the early 1990's.  As an emergency dispatcher, he was directly impacted by the results of the introduction of casinos and poker machines to his community - suddenly answering emergency calls about the resultant suicides occurring at a bridge over the Yarra River.  Our government "stakeholders and partners" quickly reacted to this unfortunate consequence of their casino booty (that you can bet WASN'T in the EIS) - and this bridge was soon fenced off from the distraught jumpers.  No extra charge.  

Suicides, broken families, damaged children, destroyed futures.  .  . just some of the consequences of state-supported gambling.  And despite the huge profits gleaned from this gambling by the state, on behalf of the majority of non-gamblers, you've got to ask yourself one simple question:

Why does the Mainland China government steadfastly refuse to allow gambling facilities among their citizens in China despite the huge tax revenue they're forgoing?  

We're about to find out the answer.

10 July 2014

"SOCIAL MEDIA IS INHABITED BY AMATEURS AND IDIOTS" -- JOHN MACKENZIE, 3 JULY 2014 9:16AM --- THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK

The best part is how much bigger Mackenzie's bag of bullshit excuses is than his mate Gavin.


Several radio jocks in Australia have been caught out over the years with gifts from advertisers that mysteriously are unreported as income to the ATO by the recipient.   

Who really owns this Toyota - MacKenzie or program sponsor Pacific Toyota?

07 July 2014

CAIRNS MAYOR BOB "SLEEPY" MANNING ACTIONS SHOWN TO BE ONLY REPRESENTING BIG END OF TOWN - AQUIS THE NEXT RECIPIENT OF RATEPAYER GIFTS?

When Bob "Sleepy" Manning was selected to lead the disUnity team by former Mayor Kevin "Hiding from the Pakis" Byrne, it was clear that a Manning administration would be pro-developer in the Byrne style.  

The Byrne style?  The huge, tasteless "prison tower" unit
THIS HEDLEY DESIGN PLANNED FOR
THE ESPLANADE JUST PRIOR TO
HEDLEY BANKRUPTCY
blocks built by (bankrupt) developer Tom Hedley.  The "ghetto style" unit blocks that were plopped into suburbs like Trinity Beach and Clifton Beach by (bankrupt) developer Udo Jattke.  The narrow streets serving huge houses on 400 sq meter allotments - leaving residents to park their too-many cars, tinnies, RV's, and other detritus on their front gardens.


With residential development ground to a halt during the Manning term, the damage to the community by his decisions look to be unprecedented for any regional centre in Australia.

Pushed by architect never-was Terry James, one of the Cairns nonRegional Council's first actions was to proffer a "fee waiver" for commercial developers in order to try and spark new construction.  On September 26 2012, these Councillors (who were not provided any detail as to the developers or projects under consideration) approved 22 projects for fee waivers totally $10.5M.  A clever trick allowing the Councillors to give money to developer friends without declaring their conflicts!  To date the projects given this Council largess have never been identified.

And the $10.5M in missing infrastructure income is shown nowhere in Council budgets - despite the fact that these expenditures will of course need to be paid for by us, the taxpayers, at some point.  Claiming to have "balanced the Council budget" without accounting for this Council gift to the developers is fraudulent budgeting.

A $10.5M project with NO oversight, community review, or accounting for fiscal impact.  


THIS IS WHAT TROPICAL DESIGN LOOKS LIKE
IN SINGAPORE.  YOU SEE ANYTHING LIKE
THIS IN CAIRNS?
Manning (like Byrne before him) talks lovingly about emulating Singapore.  Apparently they've never took a good look around Singapore and seen the heavy emphasis on transport planning.  While you see cars on the streets, they get parked at home and work in projects that have planned enough car parks.  You don't see buildings dropped on the lot lines, but buildings that allow greenspace and light on the streets.  

In the last few months, the Manning largess has continued unabated.  The proposal for an Aquarium in the CBD (on a site 1/3 the size of the Perth Aquarium of Western Australia) was encouraged by Council development staff when meeting with the proponents.  Clearly the site is much too small.  

When the Aquarium received a conditional Development
THIS PERTH AQUARIUM NEEDED ALMOST
500 CAR PARKS FOR THE PUBLIC
Approval, proponents were told by Council they needed to meet their (modified) parking requirement of 114 as well as the upgrades to adjacent streets and lighting.  The developers began voicing their anger at Manning and James.  How dare they require us to pay for these things (i.e., like every other developer in Cairns)!  Streets?  Fix your own bloody streets, they bellowed!  Parking?  Lots of parking on the streets, they shouted!  (A similar sized aquarium in Perth has over 500 carparks).  They don't even want to design awnings over the walkways for pedestrians in the rainy season (also a feature of "tropical city" design like in Singapore.)



So another gift was bestowed by Manning, and Manning alone (as written in the resolution, pg. 20).  With the entire Council approving, the infrastructure charges were waived IN FULL, and subject to negotiation, the parking charges as well.  Likely a $5M gift to the developers of the Aquarium (who have a business plan that excludes "locals discounts", say insiders).  

A likely $5M give-away by Council with NO accounting in the budget for the lost revenue and capital works that are now being paid by the taxpayers!  An investment this big in a private project should have at least got ratepayers some ownership shares in the aquarium!

On April 28th, in a speech to the Northern Australia White Paper committee, Manning complained about the growth opportunities in FNQ being squandered by lack of infrastructure - mentioning water, road, and electrical generation as areas in need of immediate help.

And with this backdrop of an already substandard infrastructure, Bob Manning said to the Cairns Post this week about Aquis:  ". . . the sheer magnitude of the project and how headworks charges would be applied was on a level never encountered before in Cairns".  "It's way beyond what the council has encountered before and we are going to have to be flexible, we have to be adaptable, and we have to be innovative on how we apply our policies".  

One needs to wonder why Bob Manning uses the "past tense" in describing what Council should be doing.  Shouldn't it be  ". . how headworks charges WILL be applied IS on a level never encountered before in Cairns".

From the day this project was first announced, the HBW position is that "the fix is in" to approve this project and nothing the public can do or say will derail it.  Our view to this day. 

Taxpayers take note:  Aquis, with an EIS that says nothing about the costs that Council and others will incur in support of this Yorkey's Monstrosity, and a Council that believes "flexible and adaptable" means giving away the store - we're about to be thrown under the bus with a project sign-off by Council now only a mere formality.

Negotiations over contractually-required payments by the Chinese owners of the $3.5B Baha Mar resort and CASINO in the Bahamas have seen the government there already fighting with the developers - and the place won't be open until this December!    

Bob Manning negotiating with Tony Fung?  We're well and truly fucked, mate.

The group Aquis Aware is holding an Information Symposium at JCU this Thursday at 7:00 PM.  

03 July 2014

MACKENZIE MISOGYNY - TAKE TWO

With the 5th Annual Cairns Ukulele Festival occupying the
weekend of families right around Cairns, it's important we recall the rocky start of this festival.

When first announced by Mayor Val Schier, the MacKenzie hillbillies exploded into orchestrated derision.  MacKenzie, along with his personal nodder, Gavin "don't rape me" King, spent show after show attacking this 'stupid idea from the do-nothing Mayor Schier".  MacKenzie and King made the first two years of festivals MUCH MORE DIFFICULT than if everyone had been as supportive as Mike O'Laughlin, the 4CA morning host.  

Contrast this with Cueball's fawning today over Gabby Thomasz, who sat thru a Macca interview on the festival this morning and never once asked him why he hated it, and attacked it relentlessly at the beginning?

Misogynists and other sexual abusers continue their bad behaviour unless called out by their victims. That's the lesson of the Rolf Harris verdict this week.  Too bad Gaby now is content to take credit for the whole thing - without acknowledging Mayor Schier.

MacKenzie also continued his defence of the Gavin King illegal parking fiasco this week.  Now it's social media that's under attack, with MacKenzie saying "Social media is inhabited by amateurs and idiots"!

Both Gavin King and Warren Entsch have hired "social media" managers - paid for by our tax dollars.  The social media manager for King is the failed council candidate Steve Grasso - the source of most of the grammatically bereft posts on King's Facebook page.

So, with this in mind, we want to hear your opinion.

STEVE GRASSO.  AMATEUR OR IDIOT??



JOHN MACKENZIE MISOGYNY AGAIN ON DISPLAY - REFUSES TO DISCUSS LAUDABLE DOUGLAS SHIRE BUDGET WITH MAYOR (A WOMAN) OR CITY MANAGER (A WOMAN)

With our Port Douglas neighbours to the north now divorced from their shotgun marriage with the Cairns nonRegional Council, reports from this community indicate a high level of satisfaction with the elected Douglas Council and Mayor, Julia Leu.

Leu has assembled a terrific team of professionals to run this Council, led by former CRC employee Linda Cardew.  They were charged with enormous tasks - getting the Douglas Shire serviced from a dead start, finding skilled professionals to fill the various positions, and prepare both a January 1 budget as well as a July 1 2014 budget.  

The task was made somewhat easier by changes in the Local Government Act that allowed the mayors in de-amalgamated councils to develop these two first budgets without the usual council consultative process.  These were "Mayor's Budgets", and in Douglas, they were the product primarily of Mayor Leu, City Manager Cardew, and and handful of top managers.

While Leu in fact did consult with all the elected councilors,
their participation was extremely limited - it was her challenge, and she got on with it.

And apparently the results have been stunning - with nary a negative comment by anyone in the community.  Even downtrodden misogynist Karin "pearl necklace" Pollard has been mum on the issue.

So it wasn't much of a mystery that John MacKenzie decided to find out about this budgetary magic.  Did he call to interview and congratulate Mayor Leu?  Nope.  How about the city manager?  No again.  He in fact instructed his chief henchman henchperson Junelle McNaught to get councillor and former city manager Terry Melchert on the phone.  Melchert, a witting or unwitting pawn in this Mackenzie sick obsession, was nominated by this woman-hating MacKenzie to explain and accept the praise for this budget.

And Melchert, who was responsible for Port's "water poisoning" experiments that were hurriedly undone when Cairns took over the shire, dutifully spoke on the phone with Macca, as the good lapdog he has proven to be over the years.

And Melchert did his part well - you'd never of even know that another person, A WOMAN, was mayor of this town!

Women bring out the worst in MacKenzie.  It was Macca who, on day one after his mate Kevin Byrne's stunning upset by Val Schier, began a campaign of venom and vile hatred of over four years that was sickening to abide.  And his private comments upchucked in restaurants around the city were even more sick and sickening.  

Junelle, who has participated in this dirty business for so long, coincidently quit her job without notice the same day.




01 July 2014

CAIRNS COUNCIL DOES DISSERVICE TO LOCAL BUSINESS COMMUNITY BY SCHEDULING SELF-HELP GURU IN PLACE OF REAL BUSINESS ENTREPRENEUR

BUSINESS IN CAIRNS LOVES GIVING AWARDS.


It seems hardly a fortnight goes by where business owners aren't putting on shoes, getting together at some CBD hotel, and giving each other awards for some bullshit reason or another.  For many of them, like the continual awarding of "tourism awards" as tourism collapsed in 2009, they are idiotic and damaging to morale.

One award night that defies this trend are the TNQ20 Business Excellence Awards.  These awards, started under the leadership of Val Schier and the previous Council, identify the creative, and the hardworking entrepreneurs in Cairns.  And the awards have been especially useful in motivating GenX and GenY up-and-coming business operators in Cairns.  Clearly, the energy of new restaurants like Zambrero on Lake Street should be encouraged.  They are the future of Cairns, when the past is represented by some overpriced greek restaurant where the owner sits scowling at the customers all night.

Sadly, organisers of this year's Award Gala have decided against securing a real, proven, business success to keynote the event, inspire the winners, and motivate the losers.  Instead they've hired the latest in self-promoting bullshit artists, a GenY P.T. Barnum.  A slick, smooth-talking internet promoter who's only business experience has been building a business to promote his business-building ability.  

This GenY promoter is one Jack Delosa, a proud university dropout, who's decided that since he's smarter than most of us (and isn't afraid of telling us so, time and time again), he would self-promote himself into a career advising the rest of us how to be winners.  He's the Kim Kardashian of business providers - famous for being famous with no real track record of talent or skill.

In his book, titled UnProfessional, (from vanity publisher Wiley), he unveils his "get rich quick" strategy on business.  Whatever the Baby Boom generation does, do the opposite.  Eschew education, because it's a waste of time.  Use all the social media marketing tools to get the results you want.  Essentially, the "get rich quick" business philosophy of GenY.  

Delosa in fact has used all these tools and more like any good self-help guru.  He floods the internet promoting himself, making "truth" out of "untruth".  His self-promotion efforts refer to himself as a "multi-millionaire" by the age of 24 - despite there being no evidence and few questioners.  His only businesses are set up to sell his business advice - and yet he's never founded and run a business of any kind other than his self-help companies! 

Reviews of his book show classic internet manipulator techniques.  For example, the only review for his book on Amazon was written and posted eleven days BEFORE Amazon had actually shipped a copy!  And the review was penned by a "customer" at Amazon online only a couple weeks.  

When asked the difference between his MBE Education Company (positioned as a business university, minus any higher education credentials) and a REAL University business school, his flippant answer:  "Mine works".  And yet there's little evidence of this, as shown here.  

And the website MBE Education redirects to his other company, The Entourage (doesn't everyone want an entourage?) where Delosa turns to the age-old marketing gimmick used by real estate, self-help, and get-rich-quick entrepreneurs around the world for decades - THE TESTIMONIAL.  Nothing very "unconventional" about this.

And in fact two of Delosa's biggest "success stories" (Sheryl Thai of Cupcake Central, and Stuart Cook of Zambrero International) both received and credit their business school educations (RMIT & Southern Cross Universities) as integral to their success.  Not some feel-good bullshit.

At the end of the day, this is just the same kind of self-help message being sold to unhappy and unquestioning people, looking for a get-rich quick formula to success.  Books, feel-good "get togethers" at no cost, designed to sell an ever-expanding array of services to the gullible.  Fill out the form on the Delosa website and then brace yourself for the hard sell.  Cairns is in fact home to an earlier, fatter generation of this same kind of self-help guru  - whom former owners of a once successful cafe at Edge Hill blame for their stunning business collapse after following his advice.

Compare Jack Delosa's website with some of the other world-renowned self-help clowns.  Tony Robbins.   Kevin Trudeau, jailed for several scams including seminars and a book famously entitled "Free Money".  Real estate scams alone account for dozens of scammers and millions in losses.
But it's a mystery why someone like this has been engaged by the Cairns nonRegional Council to speak at our local business award dinner.  Is staff at Council so gullible?  

We urge Council to get wise and find a real entrepreneur with a proven track record of business success to speak at this award night, and send Jack "Kardashian" Delosa packing.

   

GAVIN KING GOES ON ATTACK AFTER ILLEGAL PARKING INCIDENT - DESPITE LONG HISTORY OF IMPERIOUS ATTITUDES

PHOTO COURTESY CHANNEL 7.  CAIRNS POST
RIPPED IT OFF WITH NO ATTRIBUTION
Gavin King is demanding an apology from the photographer who posted a photo of King's imported, electoral Toyota parked in a restricted area at The Pier.  King admitted parking there while posing for photos with more new police recruits for Cairns.

Claiming he'd been dudded, King said 'this isn't a handicap space, it's a loading zone'.  Apparently he doesn't understand why "loading zones" have been created for the adjacent businesses - so much for the "business friendly" LNP.  Nor does his car have a Council-issued "Loading Zone" permit.

King also blubbered "Apart from the moral prerogative, given the prominence of my name and face on my car I would not willingly park in a disabled spot".

A guy well known for his views excusing rape, and calling Chinese "freaks and weirdos", has given up his right to cite "moral prerogative" as a defence.  Especially parked at The Pier, flush with vacant parking day and night.  It's clear our double-talking MP took the closest space available, seeing himself to busy and important to walk the extra 10 meters.

John MacKenzie, suckered by the poor Cairns Post reporting (which just said the picture taken had 'gone viral'), started to berate the use of social media and "everyone who has a camera".  THIS WAS A CAMERAMAN AT CHANNEL SEVEN LOCAL NEWS, DOING HIS JOB, DICKHEAD!  THAT'S MORE THAN WE CAN SAY FOR YOU!


Undermining the bullshit explanations are King's well-known history of illegal parking - as we discovered in 2012.


He just doesn't like getting caught.

30 June 2014

LNP KICK-OFF FNQ REELECTION CAMPAIGN UNDER MANAGEMENT OF JOHN MACKENZIE AND 4CA

As the economy of Far North Queensland continues to reel under the weight of massive unemployment and little investment in the region by the Queensland government, the local LNP MP's have already launched their campaign on today's John MacKenzie hillbilly show.

In a transparently manipulative lead-in, MacKenzie first called Mayor for Vice Terry James (Mayor Bob wasn't up yet) to spruik the $5M state contribution to the grossly mismanaged Lake Street upgrade.  (He didn't mention the $30M promised for the CBD upgrade that Gavin "Don't Rape Me" King and the Mayor kicked-back to the LNP after their election).

Then we were treated to a heavily-scripted hour of King answering hand-picked questions which allowed him take credit for initiatives like the Bruce Highway upgrade - projects that he, and the LNP, did nothing to facilitate.  

King failed to answer any questions about what are said to be massive problems at the new Cairns Hospital Block D - electrical problems that have delayed opening for almost two months, no staff recruitment for the new building, and other issues that include hospital beds that are too large to fit in the elevators!

The reason for this campaign launch?  The weekend reports that show the LNP losing government at the next election despite the huge win it had just over two years ago.  And the biggest losers (other than Newman himself in his Ashgrove electorate) are Gavin King, Michael Trout, and David Kempton - members who've taken gladly huge pay rises as their fellow citizens collapse under the weight of electricity pricing, insurance gouging, and the giant fat arse of the Minister of Bloggers, Warren Entsch.

King also announced (over and over again) that he was going to welcome ten new police recruits to Cairns.  Sadly, one of the callers knocked back by 4CA gatekeeper Janelle was hoping to ask King how many police have been lost to the Cairns region, and what insiders report as a net LOSS of police resources in the region.

A breathless MacKenzie lobbed pre-discussed softball questions to his protégé - and both he and King agreed that Townsville Minister for Local Government David Crisafulli would be a terrific replacement for Campbell Newman, who most assuredly will be gone after the next election.  It is unknown if Crisafulli is participating in this disloyalty to the current premier.  

Newman, who gets transcripts of all of King's public statements after showing disloyalty after the election, is now busy removing the dagger from his back. . .   

28 June 2014

TRANSPORT SECTION OF AQUIS EIS DETERMINES IF CAIRNS LIVES OR DIES

The Environmental Impact Report for the Aquis Resort and CASINO has 27 sections, along with 23 appendices.  Of all these subjects, the one with the most impact on Cairns' future can be found in Chapter 24, entitled "Transport".  It's also the chapter with the deepest bullshit, and the smallest thinking.  

And to think people pay money for this kind of "consulting"!

At the core of the transport issues are an analysis of the road impact based on "Level of Service" (LoS).  This concept is explained in the report that show photos depicting the level of traffic that comprises these impacts.  The entire 74 page report from Flanagan Consulting Group is predicated on this statement, made on page 24:  "The Department of Transport and Main Roads (DTMR) would ideally trigger upgrade of road links when the links are consistently operating at an LoS of D or worse".

This misstates the DTMR Road Planning and Design Manual (2005).  The manual states clearly (4.2.3) "In rural areas, a design Level of Service of B is desirable, but it should not be less than Level C. . ."    

Is this just a catastrophic error by Flanagan Consulting Group and Aquis, or a deliberate attempt to low-ball the requirements for infrastructure triggered by this project?

Cairns is replete with Main Roads-controlled highways that should have been "triggered for upgrades" years ago.  

As anyone living in the Northern Beaches knows, the Cook Highway operations are at Level D now, not Level B as asserted in this report.  Aquis proposes to add another lane to Yorkey's Knob Road - which won't make a whit a difference to the stop-and-go traffic that is a daily occurrence between Yorkey's Knob roundabout and the city at morning and afternoon hours.  The slow operations of the Cook Highway and the Western Arterial Road (also Level D now) are exacerbated by the 40km/hr school zones on these major roads.

And while the report freely admits that the Western Arterial is already overloaded and Level E, the poor representation in the Barron River electorate for the last several governments is among the reasons why this road has never been duplicated as should have been "triggered".  The report also indicates that even the construction period for this resort and CASINO is going to make several roundabouts and road segments dysfunctional as early as next year.  Where are the commitments from the LNP State Government and Campbell Newman in support of this project?  Even without Aquis, much of the road network north of the city is substandard by the DTMR's own standards.

Upgrading of Yorkey's Knob Road to four lanes has been suggested by Mayor Bob "Sleepy" Manning as the Council's investment in the road network, and yet the EIS shows that even four lanes won't be enough to service the resort and CASINO. (Figure 24-24)

In figure 24-4, an estimate of 242,143 truck trips to the Aquis site is proffered.  Read the fine print - this doesn't count "return" trips.  Huh?  You mean the trucks make their delivery and then just get driven into the ocean?  Such is the deception contained in this EIS.  And many of these trips are planning to use the Cook Highway to haul excavation from the Aquis site to the AIRPORT, to be used to kill mangroves.  Heavily loaded, slow moving dump trucks clogging the Cook Highway from 7AM, 6 or 7 days a week.  Where is the mention of this impact in the report?

And yet Flanagan Consulting (run by Pat Flanagan, a former Cairns Council officer), comes to the "conclusion" (figures 24-15 and 24-16) that Stage One can be "accommodated" by the existing road network.

This doesn't pass the laugh test.  Unless the majority of the workforce is housed on-site, as they would if it was mostly Chinese workers.  Oh, really?

And the result of this huge transport analysis?  Aquis offers to pay, based on a grossly inadequate Cairns Non-Regional Council Policy, a measly $16 million for its share of road infrastructure upgrades, less their demand for CREDIT in raising Yorkey's Knob road above flood level.

$16M - this is about eight days of predicted PROFIT from this casino.

$16M - for what's likely $500 Million to $1 Billion in road upgrades.

$16M - Tony Fung graciously offers from his "tip" jar.



AQUIS WILL DESTROY THE CAIRNS CBD 
AND CAIRNS TOURISM BASE

The last statement on page 24-12 of this report states clearly the goals of the Fung family and the resort.  "The operational phases of Aquis Resort and CASINO will create a traffic spectrum that will be dominated by the movement of guests and the transport of staff to and from the resort".

Table 24-13 clearly shows what many in Cairns already suspect - with a three-day average visit to Aquis by foreign tourists, Aquis is planning that they will leave the resort only ONCE during this time.  Given the promotion of Cairns and the resort as "The Great Barrier Reef", it's likely that this one day away from the resort will be a reef trip.  No Kuranda.  No Daintree. No Port Douglas.  NO CBD.  They expect the tourists to spend their entire visit in THEIR "table lands", emptying their pockets.

Can you imagine 75 or more slow-moving coaches on the Kuranda Range Road twice a day anyway?  Fixing this road alone is known to likely cost well over $1B.  An investment that Cairns-area MP's have refused to bring forward for over ten years now.  Killing of all tourism to Kuranda is the likely outcome, and a desired result by the politicians.

There is also no estimate in the EIS for tourism transport other than the estimate of 1/3 of the guests per day.  The report does mention Sunbus, which will be a long walk from the resort to Yorkey's Knob Road.  There is NO provision for tourists to go to the Cairns CBD. 

Aquis predicts a target of 800 staff per day will bicycle to Aquis.  Fighting their way down Yorkey's Knob Road as hundreds of trucks per day drop junk into the road.  Good luck with this dream.  The EIS claims the Cook Highway has "wide shoulders suitable for bicyclists".  Guess they haven't heard about the bicycle deaths on the Cook Highway recently.

Under this plan the Cairns CBD will be rendered all but dead by Aquis.  The existing hotels will face declining revenues as the mid and high end are skimmed off by Aquis.  The tourist-centric high-end shops at DFO, and the upscale brands at the Duty Free Stores will all have moved to Aquis - because business moves to where the money is.  Hotel room rates in the CBD will fall dramatically.  Merchants and restaurants will mostly leave, and the Esplanade Lagoon will be suitable only for locals and a backpacker market (that will be encouraged to come to Cairns by expanded visa programs to provide labor for this resort and CASINO).

In summary, the EIS presents a grim picture for life in Cairns both during the ten year construction period as well as the operational period after all construction has ended.  Hugely overloaded roads - with much of the overload compounded by the fact that these will be heavily loaded construction trucks and, as operation begins, slow moving passenger coaches.  Thousands of Cairns residents slogging thru slow-moving Sydney-like traffic day after day, going to their minimum wage jobs serving meals, cleaning rooms, and dealing cards to cashed-up Chinese tourists.  Then returning over the same traffic-choked roads to some hovel in Edmonton or Goldsborough, to begin the cycle again the next day.

And imagine the Cairns Airport - six or seven jumbo jets of non-English speaking tourists arriving en masse at the international terminal (as the airport has no control over when they might arrive, and generally all Asian flights arrive at dawn).  This after Aquis has moved nearly 4000 departing tourists to the airport via coach at 4-5AM (that's almost 100 buses, kids), and then these buses are charged with collecting another 4000 tourists from the clearly tiny arrival area at the international terminal.  Cairns Airport says they can easily handle the air traffic - but they're completely ill-equipped to handle the ground traffic generated, as well as the traffic inside the terminal.

Can you spell C-H-A-O-S?  I KNEW YOU COULD!

Is this the kind of Cairns you want post-Aquis?

The EIS should have addressed how this resort can be accommodated into the Cairns that currently exists instead of dictating a change in how Cairns "works".  The biggest and most obvious issue is the convenient movement of guests when they arrive in Cairns, and between the resort and major tourism facilities in the Cairns CBD.

This requires light rail to be constructed, as we previously proffered almost a year ago.

Construction of a elevated light rail line from Aquis, across cane fields to the airport, and then on up the Esplanade would eliminate the need for many of the mooted road upgrades, moving both tourists and staff to and from the resort and CASINO.  Light rail would allow this large guest pool to access the vibrancy and uniqueness of the Cairns CBD, rejuvenating the business community and making large-scale business movement to Aquis unnecessary.

This $300M investment (cheap, with cane land acquisition costs almost zero), is what will determine if Cairns will live - or die.  This $300M is about 1/3 the cost of Minister for Marijuana Warren Entsch's plan to tunnel under the inlet so he could get to his land over there.  $300M is about the amount of taxes the government would get with one year of legal marijuana sales.

And judging from the lame, uninventive, rubber-stamp, 19th century transport solutions proffered by Tony Fung, Pat Flanagan, and a cast of dozens too gutless to append their names to this report, we're well and truly fucked.